Grant to focus on Pine Bluff Arsenal Threats
White Hall has been awarded a Military Installation Resiliency (MIR) Review grant from the Department of Defense Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC).
The $457,000 MIR Review grant will provide the resources to assess the threats to the resilience of the U.S. Army Pine Bluff Arsenal and to develop recommendations to mitigate or enhance the community’s response and recovery in support of the Arsenal.
Through the new grant, a variety of credible events (both natural and man-made) and their impacts to off-post infrastructure for utility, data, communication and transportation will be assessed.
The recommendations will address a range of issues to protect and enhance the mission of Pine Bluff Arsenal.
The new grant will sustain the momentum gained by previous grants in 2019 and 2021, which evaluated and addressed compatibility and encroachment issues near the Pine Bluff Arsenal and implemented high-priority recommendations. The new grant will take 18 months to complete.
“This is the third grant we’ve received from the OLDCC,” said White Hall Mayor Noel Foster. “The f irst grant funded the study, the second grant implemented key recommendations, and now we have funds to help enhance the sustainability of Pine Bluff Arsenal. We are grateful for the OLDCC’s support to the community and the Arsenal.” The OLDCC grants were made possible by the Governor’s Military Affairs Steering Committee and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, which provides technical and financial assistance to partner with the Department of Defense.
“We are thankful for Gov. [Sarah Huckabee] Sanders’ support on this important effort,” said Foster. “The state and local community have a long-standing tradition of partnering with the Arsenal.” The OLDCC’s Compatible Use program gives communities the opportunity to work with the military to study community development issues, create a plan and implement the plan to sustain the military mission and promote community economic viability and quality of life.
The proposed plan will also provide the necessary analysis to help community leaders make informed decisions to protect military operations at the Arsenal while still promoting compatible economic development.
The Pine Bluff Arsenal’s core mission includes critical manufacturing capability, storage and maintenance for more than 148 smoke ammunition and chemical-biological defense equipment items.
“The Arsenal’s products are critical to our military forces and are used throughout the world,” stated a news release. “The Arsenal is the sole producer of many of these items and therefore possesses critical infrastructure and capability for the Department of Defense.” Approximately 740 government and contractor personnel work at the Arsenal, making it one of the top employers in the region. In September 2015, former Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the creation of a state Military Affairs Steering Committee to expand the state’s military interests and related economic development.
White Hall formed a Military Affairs Advisory Committee in July 2016 to provide focused attention to the needs of the Arsenal.
One of the top priorities identified by the Committee was to perform a Compatible Use Study of the military installations in Arkansas.
The initial Compatible Use Study grant was awarded to White Hall in 2019. The Compatible Use Implementation grant was awarded in April 2021 and completed in 2023.