Cumberland County and its immediately adjacent counties are home to three military installations that not only help support national security but also keep the County economically strong through employment of military and civilian personnel, support of local businesses, and involvement in community activities.
The County works actively with and on behalf of its military institutions on three fronts: enhancing the integration of military and civilian communities; pursuing opportunities for joint community and private sector activities and programs; and supporting an aggressive Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) committee dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of these installations.
Some examples of joint initiatives include the Army Heritage Communities partnership between the U.S. Army and Carlisle Borough for the enhancement of downtown and community life; utilization of guest speakers and trained facilitators from the various military facilities to assist and lead community organizations and activities; and the successful partnership that resulted in the establishment of the Army Heritage & Education Center (AHEC), a unit of the National Museum of the United States Army.
Carlisle Barracks/U.S. Army War College – Carlisle
The nation’s second oldest active military base, Carlisle Barracks was founded in 1757. It has served as the Army’s School of Artillerists (1777), the Cavalry School (mid-1800s), the Indian Industrial School (1879-1918), the Medical Field Service (developed after World War I), and numerous other World War II-era schools.
It maintains more than 100 historical buildings, 22 of which are listed in the National Historic Register. That rich history is the reason for the new Army Heritage and Education Center being constructed on 56 acres near the Barracks in Middlesex Township. The first building, the Military History Institute, was completed in September of 2004. Part of the long-range plan is for an education and visitors’ center, the second of three main public buildings planned for the site.
The Carlisle Barracks provides support for more than 700 military personnel and their families and more than 100,000 retired military. It employs more than 1,000 civilians plus more than 600 uniformed military. Its annual budget is almost $42 million, with an economic impact on the area of more than $300 million.
Since 1951, the Barracks has been home to the United States Army War College. Each year, the Army War College provides graduate-level studies to more than 700 selected senior level Army officers plus representatives from other armed forces branches, the U.S. government, and about 40 nations. It also extends educational outreach to more than 7,000 non-resident students and senior visitors.
The War College and supporting organizations draw an estimated 100,000 visitors a year who spend about $3.2 million, according to a recent economic impact study. War College students are trained to assume strategic leadership roles in military and national organizations. They learn from nationally recognized faculty and staff members about strategy, leadership, the human dimension of war and peace, regional studies, and communication skills for the 21st century. Graduates include Eisenhower, Bradley, Abrams, Halsey, MacArthur, and Schwarzkopf.
Institutes associated with the Army War College include the U.S. Peacekeeping Institute and the Center for Strategic Leadership, which applies high-tech and functional expertise to test concepts and plan for the future. The Strategic Studies Institute, the Army’s think tank, is also at the Barracks. The Army Physical Fitness Institute conducts research related to the health and fitness of the over-40 population and publishes fitness-related studies.
On base and open to the public are the Carlisle Barracks Golf Course and the LeTort View Community Center.
The Carlisle Barracks campus includes portions of North Middleton Township, Middlesex Township, and Carlisle Borough.
Naval Support Station – Mechanicsburg
The Naval Support Activity (NSA), located three miles west of Camp Hill and eight miles east of Harrisburg, was established as one of several inland supply depots for the U.S. Navy during World War II. Although its mission has evolved significantly since that time, the base remains an important Navy and defense supply facility.
The commands and activities at NSA include the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) whose primary mission is to provide U.S. naval forces with quality supplies and services. It employs a worldwide work force of more than 820 military personnel and 9,000 civilians. As the host command, the Naval Support Activity provides services at the Mechanicsburg compound.
The Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP), NAVSUP’s largest field activity, is the Navy’s inventory control and weapon systems support point for a broad range of material used in ships, ships weapons systems, naval aircraft and aircraft weapons systems, and material handling equipment.
The Naval Support Station campus is located in Hampden Township.
Defense Distribution Center – New Cumberland
This military installation was originally built in the latter stages of World War I under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but currently serves as a consolidated management and logistics center based upon a restructuring pursued in the 1990s.
DDC is charged with the management of 214 depots across the United States plus one in Japan and one in Europe. DDC’s function is to manage material distribution functions for Department of Defense customers, except those for fuel and munitions. DDC and its depots are responsible for the receipt, storage and issue of supplies.
The DDC’s headquarters and 24 depots employ 8,700 military and civilian personnel who manage 4.1 million items with an aggregate value of $79 billion. Also under DDC’s auspices is the Defense Distribution Depot, Susquehanna, PA (DDS).
DDSP is the largest of the 24 depots and supports a customer base that includes Europe, North Africa, Central and South America, Southwest Asia and the eastern half of the United States. DDSP is also the site of the Eastern Distribution Center, the largest automated warehouse in the Department of Defense. Tenants at DDC’s New Cumberland base include all branches of the Armed Forces.
On premises, and open to the public, are the Riverview Golf Course and the Susquehanna Club, which is available for private parties, receptions and luncheons.