Fort Meade is a US Army installation that houses the Defense information School, the US Army Field band and most especially, it hosts the headquarters of the US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.
History of Fort Meade
The base traces its history back to 1898, where it was still called as Camp Meade. In 1917, the government acquired a huge plot of land 77 square kilometers wide. Inside this area, the government built over 1,600 buildings and structures, and facilities.
In 1919, the tank school Camp Benning was transferred inside Fort Meade. Camp Benning is the combination of two other tank schools from World War I, and these were Camp Colt and Camp Tobyhanna.
In 1925, the Fort was again renamed to become Fort Leonard Wood. This hosted the Experimental Motorized Forces. In 1928, the prototypes participated in the tactics training, mobilization, and strategic maneuvering.
In World War II, the Fort Meade was used as a training camp for new recruits. The Second US Army Headquarters was also transferred to the Fort in 1947. It also became a camp for the US prisoners of war for Italian and German soldiers. When 1950 came, this post was disbanded, and the National Security Agency filled in the space that was once occupied by the Second US Army Headquarters.
Cold War Era
During the Cold War, the Fort Meade was instrumental in providing air defense and intelligence to the US. It became host to radar installations to detect possible aerial attacks from the USSR. Aside from the Fort Meade Radar Station, the base was also equipped with other radar defense systems for air defense and control systems for air superiority.
In 1955, an accidental firing of the Battery C, 36th AAA Missile Battalion further raised the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.
In 1962, to realize the need for a more integrated air defense system, the US Army Headquarters, the Headquarters Battery, as well as the 13th Air Defense Artillery relocated from Fort Meade to Homestead AFB. This made the US more comfortable in easy deployment of the defense systems, especially the MIM-23 Hawk Missiles.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the HAWK Battalion and the 65th Artillery stationed at Fort Meade were deployed to Miami. The base also proved to be a crucial support base during the 1964 B-52 crash on the Savage Mountain. Bomb experts from Fort Meade to secure the nuclear bombs in the crash site.
In 1977, it was decided that the Army Intelligence Agency become the US Army Intelligence Agency and Security Command. The National Security Agency combined with the Fort Meade are together the largest employers in Maryland.
The Mission of the Fort Meade is to provide the US a comprehensive intelligence for the US government regarding security threats. The base is also responsible for housing some of the most important government and military agencies in the country including the National Security Agency.
The base also houses the 70th Intelligence Wing Headquarters. The Base realignment and Close Act (BRAC) designated the base to gain an additional 5,700 military personnel, making it the third largest bases in the US in terms of workforce.
In 2009, the government established the United States Cyber Command, and Finally, in 2011, it also formed the Defense Information System Agency. Together, these two agencies work for the cyberspace operations and defense of the US military and government, taking advantage of all the existing cyber resources to synchronize the US military network.
Through these agencies, the US government is able to plan, coordinate, integrate, synchronize, and conduct activities for the purpose of enhancing the work and defense of the US Department of Defense. This also enable it to conduct a full spectrum cyberspace operations to ensure the liberty and freedom of the US government and Military from malicious cyber attacks and actions. It also ensures the freedom of US government and military in all their actions in cyberspace. 3
The base also protects the National Intelligence Agency, which is responsible for the collection of data and information that is relevant to national security. The National Intelligence Agency has a primary role of safeguarding the communications systems, signals systems, and other information systems of the US government and military. Roles of the NIA include radio broadcasting, eavesdropping, and intercepting various forms of information from inside and outside the country.
Overall, the Fort Meade is a very important area when it comes to national defense and security. It is one of the largest military bases in the world, but this one concentrates on intelligence and defense.
Family And Welfare
Today, Fort Meade also promotes the values of Family, Welfare, Morale, and Recreation. To this end, it has developed a self-sufficient community that is clean, healthy, and highly organized. Inside the base, you will find some of the most pleasing and comfortable places to live in the US. From dining, to healthy living, the base is replete with restaurants, shops, gyms, and sports facilities where young people can play football and other sports.
The Fort aggressively promotes the spirit of sports and teamwork, and this visible through its efforts to promote winter basketball camp, fitness classes for the families of the soldiers, and even a friendly game between the Army and the navy on occasional times when they meet on friendly matches.
Interesting Facts and Figures
- Fort Meade is one of the largest US Military bases in the Country, measuring more than 100 square kilometers in total area.
- Together with the National Security Agency, Fort Meade is the largest employer in the State of Maryland, employing over 39,000 civilian and military personnel, including contractors.
- The base is now the third largest in the US in terms of number of workforce. It has over 43,000 civilians, military, and contractual personnel assigned to live and work in the area.
- The Fort Meade Museum exhibits some of the rarest historical military artifacts including uniforms, equipment, and insignia. This museum also houses a good collection of wartime vehicles and equipment from World War II.