IBJNews

Mission change for Atterbury may mean new jobs

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

An Indiana military institution that has been a training site for thousands of deploying troops is getting a new name and a new peacetime mission.

Camp Atterbury, near Edinburgh, about 40 miles south of Indianapolis, was built in 1941 for World War II but saw its training role expand dramatically in 2003 when it was activated as a mobilization site for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The facility has since deployed more than 175,000 service members and civilians.

The installation will soon be known as Atterbury-Muscatatuck or the Atterbury-Muscatatuck training site, garrison commander Col. Ivan Denton told the Daily Journal of Franklin.

The new name will help integrate the facility with the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in southern Indiana. The former state hospital has been transformed into a city-like setting where soldiers from around the world come for realistic urban training.

The changes come as the site shifts its mission from war preparation to peacetime training. The post that once prepared 20,000 soldiers for combat each year is expected to see just 5,000 this year following the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq and the scheduled withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. The post doesn't expect to mobilize any service members next year — the first time that would happen in a decade.

The installation will be deactivated as mobilization site next year and will focus on training National Guard units from Indiana, northern Kentucky, western Ohio and eastern Illinois. Camp Atterbury also will continue to stage homeland security and NATO-led training exercises and train defense contractors and employees of the State Department and Department of Defense.

Denton said the post will continue to seek growth opportunities. He noted that it currently employs eight people who work to protect U.S. computer networks but someday could add hundreds of jobs in that field if Camp Atterbury begins training soldiers for cyber warfare or serves as a home base for service members who'd work to prevent hackers and cyber attacks.

"Our thought is that if they're going to do training somewhere in the United States, they can do it here cheaper and more effectively," he said.

Tying the installation to Muscatatuck makes sense on many levels, military officials say.

Denton said the two facilities already were under the same command and deeply intertwined in their operations.

During large training exercises, for example, military units often stage at Camp Atterbury and then train at Muscatatuck. They sometimes take helicopters from Muscatatuck back to Camp Atterbury during simulated medical evacuations to field hospitals. Atterbury often serves as the command post while soldiers go room to room hunting for the enemy or rescuing dummies from rubble at Muscatatuck, the training site near Butlerville.

"The two are really one and the same, and that's what we're trying to show," said Maj. Lisa Kopczynski, Camp Atterbury's spokeswoman.

Denton said treating the locations as a single facility could help preserve federal funding for training, staffing and facilities. The absence of deploying and returning soldiers will mean a sizable cut in federal funding and a reduction of 500 military and civilian jobs at the post.

Last year, Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck received about $460 million in mostly federal funds to pay for salaries and benefits, supplies, training exercises and construction, Denton said. This year, that funding is projected to be cut by nearly a fourth to about $350 million.

Denton said he expects the cuts to be temporary and that the post could rehire as many as 200 of the service members and contractors by the end of 2013.

He said Camp Atterbury has an advantage over other training facilities because it's in the middle of the country and has the infrastructure for a wide variety of training.

Despite its shifting mission, Camp Atterbury could still serve as a mobilization site in the future, Denton said — but on a much smaller scale.

"If they needed to mobilize 1,000 or 3,000 soldiers, we could do that," he said. "It doesn't have to be all or nothing with the size."

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am also a "vet" of several Cirque shows and this one left me flat. It didn't have the amount of acrobatic stunts as the others that I have seen. I am still glad that I went to it and look forward to the next one but I put Varekai as my least favorite.

  2. Looking at the two companies - in spite of their relative size to one another -- Ricker's image is (by all accounts) pretty solid and reputable. Their locations are clean, employees are friendly and the products they offer are reasonably priced. By contrast, BP locations are all over the place and their reputation is poor, especially when you consider this is the same "company" whose disastrous oil spill and their response was nothing short of irresponsible should tell you a lot. The fact you also have people who are experienced in franchising saying their system/strategy is flawed is a good indication that another "spill" has occurred and it's the AM-PM/Ricker's customers/company that are having to deal with it.

  3. Daniel Lilly - Glad to hear about your points and miles. Enjoy Wisconsin and Illinois. You don't care one whit about financial discipline, which is why you will blast the "GOP". Classic liberalism.

  4. Isn't the real reason the terrain? The planners under-estimated the undulating terrain, sink holes, karst features, etc. This portion of the route was flawed from the beginning.

  5. You thought no Indy was bad, how's no fans working out for you? THe IRl No direct competition and still no fans. Hey George Family, spend another billion dollars, that will fix it.

ADVERTISEMENT