Jefferson Barracks to become site of new military intelligence operation

Built in 1898 as quarters for cavalry soldiers, the historic structure, Building 27, is slated to become the home of a National Guard joint reserve military intelligence program.

Built in 1898 as quarters for cavalry soldiers, the historic structure, Building 27, is slated to become the home of a National Guard joint reserve military intelligence program.

The Army National Guard’s 35th Infantry Division, headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., is in the process of establishing a joint-reserve military intelligence program at Jefferson Barracks.

Lt. Col. William J. Banwell, a Missouri National Guard intelligence officer, stated in a press release that soldiers of Detachment 3, B Company, already have begun moving into Building 27 on the west side of the historic military post in south county.

Banwell stated in the release the detachment eventually could include about a dozen full-time personnel and 50 to 70 part time Guardsmen from both the Air and Army National Guard.

Maj. Greg T. Roman, of Riverside, is the detachment commander.

“The detachment will primarily consist of the analysis and control element of the division,” Roman stated in the release. “For the most part, our mission will be to gather intelligence on our adversaries and pass it upward to the intelligence command.”

“The detachment’s mission is to support the 35th Infantry Division’s mission, wherever that happens to be in the world,” added Banwell, of Jefferson City. “Right now, our focus is on the Balkans because our unit is slated to be deployed there next year and in 2014. But this unit also supports intelligence personnel within U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Northern Command. So we are setting this up as not only as a training program but also a unit that is mission-oriented.”

Banwell stated in the release officials at the National Guard Bureau and the Department of Defense chose the Jefferson Barracks site for good reason.

“The planners were looking for a Midwestern location because we already have plenty of similar (intelligence) assets in California, Utah and in the eastern U.S.,” he stated. “We were also interested in forming a joint-reserve intelligence program at Jefferson Barracks. Another advantage to the St. Louis area is the location of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (in Arnold), which is going to be a focal point of our training and expertise.

“The location also puts us close to U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and to other service entities in the area such as the Navy Reserve and the Air National Guard.”

Established in 1826, Jefferson Barracks is the oldest continually operational military post west of the Mississippi River and is a National Historic Site. The 135-acre facility is home to several National Guard and Army Reserve units.

Banwell believes locating the intelligence detachment at JB will add to the facility’s viability as an important military post and training site for military personnel from all branches of the service, according to the release.

“I’ve always believed that Jefferson Barracks is vital for a number of reasons,” Banwell stated. “But establishing this intelligence program there will certainly add to that.”

The intelligence program is being lauded by Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, who always has promoted cooperation between branches of the military.

“The intelligence platform at Jefferson Barracks is yet another example of the Air and Army National Guard working jointly to the benefit of both organizations,” Danner stated in the release. “It will also serve as a center for intelligence training and operations for Guard and Reserve forces throughout the St. Louis area.”

Equally pleased is the Jefferson Barracks Base commander, Air Guard Col. Richard Chapman, who also commands the 157th Air Operations Group. He looks forward to working with the 35th Infantry Division.

“In true joint fashion the 157th Air Operations Group and 35th Infantry Division intelligence personnel are working together to share their unique capabilities and expertise as they begin to train collaboratively and find synergies upon which to capitalize,” Chapman stated.

A major hurdle to establishing the intelligence program at Jefferson Barracks is the renovation of Building 27, according to the release, which was constructed in 1898 for about $30,000 as a barracks for cavalry soldiers.

The 114-year-old structure recently was used by the Guard’s 3175th Chemical Company, now in Bridgeton, and by the 70th Troop Command, now headquartered in the nearby Joint Armed Forces Reserve Center. Building 27 also includes a dining hall annex built in 1940.

“We’re looking at funding anywhere between $600,000 and $3 million on the renovation of the annex and the main building,” Banwell stated in the release. “There may be additional funding for Building 27 renovations but we are still looking at several different options involving administration, logistics and a means of billeting. And because Jefferson Barracks is a historic site, we have to walk a respectful line with regards to history when we bring the building up to modern code.”

Banwell stated the Guard is considering the option of billeting military intelligence personnel in another Jefferson Barracks structure, possibly Building 44, which was built in the 1890s as a cavalry stable. The building currently houses an Air Guard fitness facility and recently received a new heating and cooling system as well as a new roof.

Capt. Shane Parks, an assistant to Banwell, stated in the release the Guard hopes to start Building 27 renovations in May.

“We hope to have construction completed and receive accreditation no later than November of 2014,” Parks stated. “We might be finished sooner than that, but that will depend on how the renovation project goes and how soon we get our information technology guys in the building and start setting up our network.”

Building 27 has long been coveted by the Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation for use as a Citizen-Soldier museum, according to the release, but its new use does not upset the foundation’s executive director, Bill Florich.

“I’ve been hearing about the intelligence program for years,” Florich stated in the release. “I’m glad it’s finally coming to fruition and I’m glad the Guard found a use for the building.”