Fort Monmouth is an installation of the Department of the Army in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The post is surrounded by the communities of Eatontown, Tinton Falls and Oceanport, New Jersey, and is located about one mile from the Atlantic Ocean. The post covers nearly of land, from the Shrewsbury River on the east, to Route 35 on the west; this area is referred to as 'Main Post'. A separate area (Camp Charles Wood) to the west includes post housing, a golf course, and additional office and laboratory facilities. A rail line, owned by Conrail, runs through Camp Charles Wood and out to Naval Weapons Station Earle. The post is like a small town, including a Post Exchange (PX), health clinic, gas station and other amentities. Until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the post was open to the public to drive through; since that time, the post is closed to all but authorized personnel.
The post is home to several units of the U.S. Army Materiel Command and offices of the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) that research and manage Command and Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities and related technology, as well as an interservice organization designed to coordinate C4ISR, an academic preparatory school, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit, a garrison services unit, an Army health clinic, and a Veterans Administration health clinic. Other agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Security Agency, have presences on the post.
The post was selected for closure by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2005. Most Army functions and personnel are required and scheduled to be moved to Army facilities in Maryland and Ohio by 2011.
The original name of the installation was Camp Little Silver. It was renamed Camp Alfred Vail shortly after its establishment in 1917. The Chief Signal Officer authorized the purchase of Camp Vail in 1919. The Signal Corps School relocated to Camp Vail from Fort Leavenworth that year. The Signal Corps Board followed in 1924. In August 1925 the installation was granted permanent status and was renamed Fort Monmouth. It was named in honor of the soldiers of the American Revolutionary War who died in the Battle of Monmouth; aptly, it is also located in Monmouth County. The first permanent building was built in 1928. Other structures were built to house units the Army consolidated at Fort Monmouth.
In 1928, the first radio-equipped meteorological balloon reached the upper atmosphere, a forerunner of weather sounding techniques universally used today. In 1938, the first U.S. aircraft detection Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) was developed on post. This was later the same RADAR that detected the oncoming Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, but the warning it provided was discounted. In 1946, celestial communications was proved feasible when the RADAR developed by the Project Diana team was used to bounce electronic signals off the moon.
During the late 20th century, Fort Monmouth was home to the US Army Chaplain Center and School (USACHCS). Enlisted soldiers, Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Officers training to become Chaplain Assistants and Chaplains were trained at Fort Monmouth.
The Signal Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Monmouth graduated 21,033 new Signal Corps officers during the period 1941-1946.
The post is home to the CECOM Life Cycle Management Command (CECOM LCMC), which consists of the following:
Also located on the post are:
Most of the personnel located on the post are civilians employed by DoD, or employees of companies under contract with the DoD.
Fort Monmouth is also noted for its SunEagles Golf Course, one of the better DoD golf courses in the nation.
Fort Monmouth was recommended for closure by the Pentagon in May 2005. BRAC voted in August 2005 to close the post; their decision was upheld by President George Bush and Congress. An appeal headed by U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone and Rush D. Holt, Jr. to remove the post from the list was made to the BRAC commission, but was rejected.
In particular, BRAC recommended:
The DoD estimated the closure of Fort Monmouth would cause the loss of 9,737 jobs (5,272 direct and 4,465 indirect jobs) between 2006 and 2011, leading to a 0.8% increase in unemployment. DoD also calculated the closure and other changes would save it about $1 billion in the long run.
However, in June 2007, an investigation by the Asbury Park Press revealed that the projected cost of closing Fort Monmouth and moving its research functions to Aberdeen, Maryland, had doubled from $780 million to $1.5 billion. Add to that the $3.3 billion loss to New Jersey’s economy coupled with the estimated $16 billion it will cost Maryland for needed infrastructure improvements to accommodate the largest job influx since World War II. In addition, recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) findings have uncovered substantial errors in the Army estimation of BRAC cost savings-- in one case turning a projected $1 billion savings into a $31 million savings. In light of these issues, the House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the BRAC 2005 legislation.
On April 28, 2006, Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine signed into law the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Act, which established the Fort Monmouth Revitalization Planning Authority, to plan and manage the redevelopment of Fort Monmouth once it closes.
The authority consists of four state appointees, the head of the state Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Commission, the mayors of Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls, and a representative of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders. The 10th, non-voting member was chosen by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to represent Fort Monmouth. The legislation creating the commission, proposed by State Senators Joseph Kyrillos and Ellen Karcher, received bipartisan support, but only after wrangling in the legislature over its composition and authority.
The authority holds meetings that rotate between the municipal buildings of the three towns whose mayors sit on the board. In July 2006, the authority met for the first time and selected its chairman, Robert Lucky, a Corzine appointee, who was not supported by the three mayors. In September, the authority hired a real estate development company executive, Frank C. Cosentino, of West Long Branch, to be its executive director.
As mandated by federal law, the authority must advertise for notices of interest from any state, county, municipal or private, non-profit agency which would provide homeless assistance to Monmouth County residents. Notices are due by March 8, 2007.
Prior to closing the fort, the federal government will be investigating either moving or consolidating the prison at Ft. Dix with Ft. Monmouth due to excessive housing and infrastructure in the Eatontown location