Army Materiel moving from Belvoir to 'Bama

Wednesday - 9/22/2010, 11:04am EDT

Katharine Kelley, chief program manager, BRAC office, Materiel Command, Army

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

Logistics is a big part of the Army Materiel Command's mission, and that's very apparent in the BRAC-related move of its headquarters.

Kate Kelley, chief of the BRAC office, told Federal News Radio that of the 1,300 positions slated to move from from Ft. Belvoir to Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, 550 have already made the trip.

"We basically have one year left," said Kelley, to meet the July 2011 goal to complete the move.

While all BRAC moves are supposed to be complete by September of 2011, Kelley said they'll be done early moving the entire kit and kaboodle. And band.

Yes, band.

Kelley said the 40 member U.S. Army Materiel Command Band "are part of our headquarters element," so "they will be coming with us."

However, Kelley may want to consider having the band stick around while a rather complex dance is performed in the Ft. Belvoir facilities.

As they move out, others are moving in. In order for everything to be accomplished by the same goal date, they've had to work together with other agencies. "It's kind of a domino effect," said Kelley, "of us moving out and incoming BRAC tenants falling in behind us."

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission directed move to Redstone made sense said Kelley, because AMC already has a presence there.

And in this particular case, the Army wanted to do a couple of things within the BRAC commission. One of the things was in response to 9/11. We wanted to try to disperse some of the preponderance of DoD elements that were in the National Capital Region. When we looked holistically at how to do that, AMC was one of several organizations that was chosen to move. And because AMC has a significant presence at Huntsville already within its AMCOM community, which is already there, I believe it made a lot of sense for us to co-locate and create a kind of center of excellence there for the AMC community.

The Army has done a lot of great things to try to help employees get through the process. "Certainly we know that this is a very difficult decision for a lot of people to make," said Kelley. "It's very difficult for Army Materiel Command because of our high civilian density and people having to make difficult choices about whether or not they're going to move with their job, and that, of course, has impacts to everybody's family as well."

Kelley said there are programs to financially help with move, help with renting out the home they're leaving behind if they choose not to sell it, and even a Defense Department program that will purchase your home.

For those who decide to stay, there are options for priority placement, which gives them a first look at other vacancies within the National Capital Region.

The locality pay will drop, of course, since the cost of living is lower in the Huntsville, Alabama area, but even with the cut, Kelley said employees who have already made the move are saying the cost of living down there "is substantially less than what we're paying up here" so it's working out to be transparent in the wallet.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report brought to you by Dell. For more defense news, click here.