On September 1 the U.S. Army released the nearly $3 million it promised last year to keep the soon-to-be-decommissioned Fort Monmouth going.
Fort Monmouth, founded in 1917 and officially selected for closure by the White House in 2005, had become the R&D epicenter of the army’s Command and Control Communications, Intelligence, Sensors, and Reconaissance systems (also known as C4-ISR). Workers, military and civilian, worked on cutting-edge comunications and surveillance systems that have most recently been used in the army’s campaigns in the Middle East.
Given its contributions to military technology, the announced shut-down during the 2005 BRAC (base realignment and closure) rounds came as a shock to the area. Almost immediately thereafter Monmouth County, state, and federal officials began lobbying for reconsideration. When that proved a dead end, those same officials lobbied hard to save the base and its high-tech research by making it part of the national defense contracting network.
Last year a quartet of New Jersey Democrats in the House and Senate — congressmen Rush Holt and Frank Pallone and senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez — saw their efforts pay off when the Department of Defense announced announced that it would earmark $2.995 million to transform Fort Monmouth into the New Jersey Technology Center (not to be confused with the Technology Center of New Jersey, run by the state Economic Development Authority, and situated in New Brunswick).
According to the DoD, the money will fund jobs for “skilled Fort Monmouth employees through contracts with the Army. At the Center, they will be able to continue to provide technical and programmatic support for the U.S. military.”