New Mexico Delegation Calls On New Army Secretary To Bring Active Duty Mission To WSMR

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to incoming Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce (R-N.M.)Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) urged him to consider White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) as a garrison host for a Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), which could bring close to 500 Army officers to WSMR. Secretary Esper was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday afternoon. The delegation delivered the letter on Secretary Esper’s first day on the job. 

The delegation outlined that there is an immediate availability of $170 million worth of modern, battalion sized facilities that are vacant at WSMR, citing more than 130,000 square feet of brand new facilities from headquarters, to maintenance bays, a new dining facility and a 134,000-acre maneuver training area with close proximity to the personnel of the 1st Armored Division and Brigade Modernization Command at Ft. Bliss, TX. 

“We appreciate Army’s decision to accelerate the establishment and selection of the remaining five SFAB’s. WSMR has a long history of hosting active-duty units, and the state of New Mexico would provide a warm welcome to the Army should it decide to station an SFAB at White Sands. In basing roughly 500 officers and senior noncommissioned officers at WSMR, the Army can take full advantage of the exceptional training capabilities offered at the post while making the best use of taxpayer dollars,” wrote the members.

Members of the delegation met with Dr. Mark Esper this year and provided documentation citing the unique terrain, zero-to-infinity airspace, and expertise at WSMR that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the country. During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dr. Esper committed to give full consideration to WSMR and its modern facilities for the SFAB mission.

The letter is available here and below.

November 16, 2017 

Hon. Mark Esper
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon 
Washington, D.C. 20310

General Mark A. Milley 
Chief of Staff of the Army
200 Army Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310

 
Dear Secretary Esper and General Milley:
 
First, as members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation, we write to congratulate you on your confirmation as our nation’s 23rd Secretary of the Army. The United States faces a number of global challenges, and your immediate leadership will be needed to ensure our military remains the most capable military in the world.
Specifically, we write to urge you to consider White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) as a garrison host for a Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB). As you know, Congress has provided a significant amount of resources toward training foreign security forces in recent years, so we welcome the Army’s announcement to establish brigades who will specialize in this mission, while demonstrating the best use of taxpayer dollars. 
There is an immediate availability of $170 million worth of modern, battalion sized facilities that are vacant at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). We are fully confident that the facilities available at WSMR have the capacity and capability to support an SFAB mission. The available facilities include the features described below and pictured in Figure 1:
  • One 17,715 sq. ft. headquarters building with 23 office spaces, five conference rooms, a secure room, vault and elevator.
  • Six company headquarters in one 65,969 sq. ft. building. Each company area has a vault, a ready room with over 100 personal equipment lockers, communications and supply storage rooms; along with three shared conference rooms and locker room type latrines/showers.
  • One 19,500 sq. ft. battalion level dining facility (DFAC) consisting of two offices, a drive-thru window, dry storage room, and public & crew latrines.
  • One vehicle maintenance shop consisting of 34,925 sq. ft., with 14 offices, five bays, a 10T overhead crane, 24x14 ft. doors, one elevator, POL & parts storage, and six 5,775 sq. ft. organizational storage buildings.
  • One parade field and a segregated parking lot. 
Figure 1: Modern and vacant battalion facilities at WSMR
From a training standpoint, WSMR is the largest overland military installation in the country, offering a 134,000 acre maneuver training area with close proximity to the personnel of the 1st Armored Division and Brigade Modernization Command at Ft. Bliss, TX. Stationing an SFAB at WSMR would also benefit from synergies with the Army Warfighter Assessment and Network Integration Exercise programs.
WSMR is a tri-Service joint post supporting U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force contingents along with a multitude of RDT&E organizations from defense industry and international partners. WSMR also frequently hosts allied and partner nation elements, offering one-of-a-kind opportunities for training and integrating joint forces.
We appreciate Army’s decision to accelerate the establishment and selection of the remaining five SFAB’s. WSMR has a long history of hosting active-duty units, and the state of New Mexico would provide a warm welcome to the Army should it decide to station an SFAB at White Sands. In basing roughly 500 officers and senior noncommissioned officers at WSMR, the Army can take full advantage of the exceptional training capabilities offered at the post while making the best use of taxpayer dollars. 
We look forward to working with you on this issue, and New Mexico stands ready to support the U.S. Army on this critical mission.
Sincerely,
U.S. Senator Tom Udall
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich
U.S. Representative Steve Pearce
U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján
U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham