Fort Belvoir Plans for
the 21st Century
No history of Fort Belvoir would be complete without mentioning the active role that the installation played in preserving its natural and historic resources.
As Fort Belvoir entered the twenty-first century, care was being taken to ensure the continued protection of its resources through compliance with environmental and preservation laws, restoration of damaged environments, adoption of measures to prevent problems in the future, and continually to conserve and preserve its natural and cultural resources. Since the 1930s when archeological investigations were first undertaken at the Belvoir Manor site under the director of Colonel Edward Schulz, the installation maintained a consistent interest in and commitment to its cultural resources. The decade of the 1970s saw a renewed interest in recovering the remains of Fort Belvoir’s eighteenth century heritage. Working in a unique relationship with the Fairfax County Public Schools, the Engineer Museum supported a three-year archeological investigation of the former home of William Fairfax. As a result, the Belvoir Manor site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Since that time, the installation initiated additional studies to identify its other architectural and archeological resources, so that they could be preserved for the education of future generations.
Artist’s representation of the Missile Defense Agency Headquarters, adjoining Long Parade Field.
The Eleanor U. Kennedy Shelter, located near Tulley Gate on U.S. Route 1, exemplified the thoughtful considerations that had been given to the preservation of Fort Belvoir’s historic buildings. The homeless shelter was housed in the post’s former water filtration plant. Constructed in 1918 as part of the original water supply system for Camp A.A. Humphreys, the structure was one of the installation’s earliest permanent buildings. The facility, leased by Fairfax County, provided temporary housing for 52 homeless persons.
Fort Belvoir also displayed a great sensitivity towards the natural resources under its jurisdiction. Beginning in the 1950s, Lt. Col. Jackson Miles Abbott, a conservationist and wildlife artist, observed that timber removal, road construction, stream pollution, and insecticide use were threatening the native bird and animal life on the installation. Abbott noted that 28 species of mammals and more than 228 bird species, ranging from hummingbirds to bald eagles, had been observed on the installation. Thanks to improved habitat management, bird species, whose numbers had been declining in Lt. Col. Abbott’s day, reappeared, including ospreys, trumpeter swans, and bald eagles.
Houses in Park Village, occupied by senior non-commissioned
Houses in Fairfax Village, occupied
by company-grade and warrant officers.
More than one-third of the installation’s acreage had been preserved as a designated wildlife sanctuary. The Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge was established in 1980 and included over 1,300 acres of marsh and hardwood forest in the southwestern corner of the post, in an area formerly used for target ranges. The Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge, dedicated in October 1989, incorporated 150 acres of non-tidal wetland and forest near the Woodlawn Village Housing area along Dogue Creek. Both refuge areas were open to the public, and provided miles of trails, including a one-mile handicapped-accessible trail. In 1991, as a result of its efforts to preserve the natural environment, Fort Belvoir received a Natural Resources Conservation Award from the Department of Defense.
The future stewardship of Fort Belvoir’s vast natural and cultural resources was furthered by the development of a comprehensive land management plan. The plan, which earned a national honor award from the American Planning Association in 1991, sought to manage growth in a way that protected and maintained the installation’s unique assets, while maintaining the ability of the installation to pursue its assigned military mission.
Beginning in 1989, Fort Belvoir, like many other Department of Defense (DoD) installations, was subject to a series of the new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislations. In subsequent BRAC actions, a number of large agencies, such as the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) closed their doors in the National Capital Region and re-located to new facilities on Fort Belvoir. Along with the installation’s world-wide role following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the post initiated new security requirements for access onto the post. Force protection and anti-terrorism measures continued to play a major role in the operation of the installation. A number of agencies in local leased facilities also began to move to Fort Belvoir for security purposes.
Artist’s representation of the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, scheduled to open in 2011.
Note the environmental features such
as the curved rainwater collector panels on the roofs.
In the latest round of BRAC proceedings, the 2005 legislation eventually directed that Fort Belvoir would receive a net gain of 19,300 personnel on Main Post and its sub-installations. Approximately $4 billion was spent on building a new Community Hospital and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on Main Post, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) on the Fort Belvoir North Area, two large office buildings at the Mark Center in Alexandria for the Washington Headquarters Service; the Joint Use Intelligence Analysis Facility (JUIAF) at Rivanna Station in Charlottesville,Virginia; and a host of associated infrastructure improvements on and off post. These improvements included the construction of the final section of the Fairfax County Parkway along the southern border of the North Area.
The Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia,
near the intersection of I-395 and Seminary
Road, the home of the 6,400 Washington
Head-quarters Service personnel, associated
the 2005 BRAC legislation.
In 1994, Fort Belvoir partnered with the Fairfax County Public Schools to construct the new Fort Belvoir Elementary School on North Post to replace the three DoD schools currently in operation. The new elementary school soon became the largest such educational facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Additionally, the Army selected Fort Belvoir to host the construction of the new National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA), superintended by the Army Historical Foundation. The museum was projected to be built on a 41-acre preferred site on North Post.
As part of an effort to focus more directly on their primary mission, installations were directed to privatize many of their support services. Gas was first in 1992 with the switch to Washington Gas. Housing followed in 2001 to Clark Pinnacle under the Residential Communities Initiative (RCI), with the goal of providing quality housing on post comparable to any such dwellings in the surrounding civilian communities. Electrical services were transferred in 2009 to Dominion Virginia Power, and water and sewer services to AmericanWater in 2010. These partnerships afforded Fort Belvoir the opportunity to better support the Army’s mission, and received a number of prestigious design and environmental awards such as the 2009 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-NC (New Con-struction) Platinum Military Project Certification for the new Fairfax Village Community Center by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Artist’s representation of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
at the New Campus East on the Fort Belvoir North Area.
In 2009, General Ann Dunwoody was appointed to command the Army Material Command (AMC) at Fort Belvoir. She was the first female Army officer to be promoted to 4-star rank.
Artist’s rendering, aerial view
of the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU)
barracks and the Warrior and Family
Assistance Center (WFAC), adjoining
the new Community Hospital.
original water filtration plant, built in
1918, was converted into the Eleanor U. Kennedy Shelter for the Homeless in 1989.
Artist’s rendering of the
JUIAF building at
Fort Belvoir is a part of the Northeast Region of the Army’s Installation Management Command (IMCOM). The post’s senior command is the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region/Military District of Washington (JFHQ-NCR/MDW).
Today, Fort Belvoir continues its historic transformation, expanding its role as a strategic sustaining base for America’s armed forces worldwide. The missions fulfilled here are vital to the success of the goals and objectives of the nation’s defense strategy. Meanwhile, the post continues to be the Army’s installation of choice for Soldiers, Families, Civilians, and Retirees.
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