The Army will transfer its Engineer Center and School from Fort Belvoir to Missouri, Army officials said yesterday. The move, which will take more than 1,000 jobs from the area, is a blow for local officials who had sought to keep the prestigious school at the Northern Virginia installation.
In addition, Arlington Hall Station in Arlington and some intelligence operations at Fort Meade, Md., will be closed and their personnel transferred to Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, where the Intelligence and Security Command will be consolidated. The Army will also move its Army Corps headquarters and its Medical Personnel Support Agency from the District to Fort Belvoir.
The Army's Criminal Investigations Command at Baileys Crossroads also will be transferred to Fort Meade.
The combined actions will reduce Fort Belvoir's military personnel by 140, to 4,160, but will increase the number of civilian positions by 1,515, to 5,829, according to the Army.
By 1989, 765 military personnel and 326 civilian "authorized spaces" will be transferred to Fort Leonard Wood in south-central Missouri. But the Army estimated that only 47 Fort Belvoir civilian employes actually will be sent to Missouri because of retirements, transfers and attrition.
The Army estimates the changes will cost $93 million, and will bring an annual saving of $23 million.
For four years, Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) and other Virginia congressmen have fought efforts to move the engineering school, and Parris criticized the Army's action yesterday.
Parris is "unalterably opposed to the move," said spokesman Syd Courson. "It doesn't make sense. It's musical chairs."
Aides to Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) said that the decision to consolidate the engineering school in Skelton's district was made last year, but that the announcement was delayed until after the November elections.
Currently, military officers are trained at the Virginia facility and enlisted personnel at Fort Leonard Wood. For several years, the Army has discussed combining the schools, arguing that it would save expensive duplication.
The Army does not need congressional approval to transfer facilities, but it must inform Congress of its plans. Funds for the transfer also must be approved by Congress.
Parris plans to try to block congressional approval of money for the move if he cannot persuade the Army to change its mind, according to Courson.