Local, Military Leaders Break Ground on New Home for USAMRAA
Billed as part of the Army's enduring efforts to promote and secure readiness for the Warfighter and the Nation, representatives from both the U.S. military and the surrounding Frederick, Maryland community gathered at Fort Detrick on September 14 to participate in the ceremonial groundbreaking of a new U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity facility.
"Getting to this point has been a real team effort," said Brigadier General Michael Talley, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and Fort Detrick, during remarks to a small, physically-distanced crowd of military leaders, elected officials, and USAMRDC staffers. "USAMRAA is in desperate need of a modern and consolidated working environment to support the staff as they support Department of Defense medical research activities worldwide."
Established in 1984, USAMRAA has in recent years been forced to operate out of a collection of separate buildings – some, as Talley noted, upwards of 70 years old – scattered in a variety of locations across Post. The construction of a single USAMRAA building is intended to gather all of the organization's more than 260 staffers under one roof, with an eye toward boosting communication and organizational cohesion.
The building itself will be constructed in a plot of land only a few hundred yards southwest of USAMRDC's headquarters building; a process that will require the removal of several small wooden structures – in some cases, the very same buildings inhabited up until recently by USAMRAA staffers. Design efforts for the three story, 22 million dollar facility began in 2017 and maintained substantial backing from USAMRDC and other key military leaders during a lengthy and intricate process to secure required funding.
"We're here to remind each other and communities we serve that the Military Health System is moving forward," said Guy Kiyokawa, Deputy Director of the Defense Health Agency during his remarks.
Said U.S. Rep. David Trone, who represents Maryland's 6th District and who joined military leaders at the assembled groundbreaking, "This is one step forward in building the best medical research facilities in the world."
For USAMRAA staffers, the construction project – slated to take two years, according to engineers – will provide a more updated and united front; a singular place to develop their more than seven thousand annual contract efforts – efforts valued at more than two billion dollars for Department of Defense medical research and materiel mission needs. For USAMRDC, it is yet another example of Command-wide efforts to streamline efforts to research and deliver key medical materiel to both the Warfighter and the Nation.
Said Talley in closing, complimenting USAMRAA staffers for their hard work in their current and scattered locations, "You have continued to excel in your mission despite these less than ideal conditions. It is my great pleasure to stand here today as we break ground on USAMARAA's future home."