U.S. Army Intelligence School at Fort Devens closes, leads to construction boom at Fort Huachuca
In May 1990, the Army announced that $129 million of planned construction would take place at Fort Huachuca, most of that being new buildings to accommodate the students, instructors and administrative personnel projected to transfer from Fort Devens, Massachusetts, in connection with the Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, Act of 1988. This was the culmination of a two-decade-long effort to consolidate all military intelligence, or MI, training at Fort Huachuca.
The Army began using Fort Devens for intelligence training in April 1951, when the U.S. Army Security Agency School established its headquarters there. Previously, enlisted cryptologic training had been conducted at Vint Hill Farms Station, Virginia, and officer training took place at Arlington Hall Station, also in Virginia. In 1948, both enlisted and officer cryptologic training was consolidated at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
The Army quickly realized, however, that the school required larger facilities, prompting the move to Fort Devens. After the move, the ASA School continued to offer both officer and enlisted training in communications analysis, communications security, radio intelligence, Morse and non-Morse intercept and crypto-equipment maintenance. In 1955, the school assumed the mission of training electronic intelligence and electronic warfare, or EW, specialists. Two years later, it was renamed the U.S. Army Security Agency Training Center and School, ASATC&S.
As a result of major changes to the structure of Army Intelligence in the 1970s, the ASA was discontinued and its responsibilities assumed by the new U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. Responsibility for the ASATC&S transferred to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, TRADOC, which placed the school under the command of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School, USAICS, at Fort Huachuca.
At this time, the ASATC&S became known as the U.S. Army Intelligence School, Devens, or USAISD. Changes continued into the 1980s. The development of the all-source intelligence officer resulted in the transfer of all signals intelligence, SIGINT, and electronic warfare, EW, officer training to USAICS at Fort Huachuca. With all MI officer training now consolidated here, USAISD focused on training enlisted EW/cryptologic personnel. The Fort Devens school also assumed responsibility for manual Morse cryptologic training for the entire Department of Defense.
In the 1990s, more big changes loomed for the schools at both Huachuca and Devens. On October 1, 1990, as part of the 1988 BRAC initiative, TRADOC assumed command of Fort Huachuca from the U.S. Army Information Systems Command, which had been the senior mission on post since the 1960s.
At this time, USAICS became known simply as the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, or USAIC. The 1988 BRAC committee also announced the closure of USAISD and transfer of its remaining training elements to Fort Huachuca. A small Forward Transition Support Team from Devens arrived in August 1992 and a large influx of personnel began arriving two years later. After September 9, 1994, when the last class graduated at USAISD, all MI disciplines were taught by USAIC at Fort Huachuca.
The move of all SIGINT/EW training from Devens to Huachuca necessitated a building boom at the Arizona post to accommodate an increase of 3,200 permanent party personnel and students. Specifically, construction began on what was then called MI Village.
On June 18, 1991, a ground breaking ceremony heralded the first phase of construction that included seven barracks buildings, two dining facilities, two applied instruction buildings, a SIGINT/EW maintenance facility, and utilities and roads to support the complex. This first phase was valued at approximately $100 million.
An additional contract was let for the construction of a new self-contained Noncommissioned Officer Academy. After nearly two years of construction, on February 6 – 8, 1993, a round of ceremonies, open houses and building dedications was held to open the newly constructed facilities to accommodate the Devens courses and personnel. The three-day event included the opening of Nicholson Hall, Friedman Hall, Koch Barracks and Yardley Dining Facility.
The new NCO Academy buildings — Wilson Barracks and Ice Hall — were dedicated on July 9, 1993. Over the next four years, additional buildings were completed and dedicated, including the Virginia Hall Dining Facility, Kapp Barracks, Sherr Barracks and Willoughby Barracks in 1994; Davis Hall, de Pasqua Barracks, Hitt Hall, O’Neil Hall and Revere Barracks in 1995; the Kelly Operations Building in 1996; and Eifler Gym in 1997. On June 28, 2002, the MI Village was redesignated Prosser Village, in honor of Staff Sergeant Brian “Cody” Prosser, an Army intelligence analyst killed in Afghanistan on December 6, 2001.
Today, Prosser Village sits in the center of a USAICoE academic complex that has continued to grow. Its New England-style buildings recall memories of Fort Devens and its 40-year role in MI training. It remains, as Maj. Gen. Paul Menoher, the commanding general of USAIC from 1989-1993, stated, the “symbol of the long-cherished dream of all U.S. Army military intelligence training being consolidated at one location.”