Jefferson Barracks to become site of new military intelligence operation

Officers of the National Guard's 35th Infantry Division meet with Jefferson Barracks and 157th Air Operations Group Commander, Col. Richard Chapman (at the head of the table) to discuss the establishment of a joint reserve military intelligence program at the historic post in south St. Louis County. Seated to the right of Chapman (wearing glasses) is Lt. Col. William Banwell, the Missouri National Guard's intelligence officer. (Bill Phelan photo)


Bill Phelan

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - 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, Missouri National Guard Intelligence officer, said soldiers of Detachment 3, B Company, have already begun moving into Building 27 on the west side of the historic military post in south St. Louis County.

Banwell said the detachment could eventually consist of about a dozen full time personnel and 50-70 part time Guardsmen from both the Air and Army National Guard.

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

"The detachment will primarily consist of the analysis and control element of the division," explained Roman. "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 said officials at the National Guard Bureau and the Department of Defense chose the Jefferson Barracks location 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 said. "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.

"I've always believed that Jefferson Barracks is vital for a number of reasons," Banwell said. "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 has always 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 said. "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 Jefferson Barracks Base Commander, Air Guard Col. Richard Chapman, who also commands the 157th Air Operations Group, who looks forward to working with the 35th ID.

"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 said.

A major hurdle to establishing the intelligence program at JB is the renovation of Building 27, which was constructed in 1898 for about $30,000 as a barracks for cavalry soldiers. The 114-year-old structure was recently 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," said Banwell. "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 said the Guard is considering the option of billeting military intelligence personnel in another JB 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, said the Guard is hoping to start Building 27 renovations in May.

"We hope to have construction completed and receive accreditation no later than November of 2014," Parks said. "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, 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 said. "I'm glad it's finally coming to fruition and I'm glad the Guard found a use for the building."


The rear of Building 27 at Jefferson Barracks. Built in 1898 as quarters for cavalry soldiers, the historic structure is slated to become the home of a National Guard joint reserve military intelligence program. (Bill Phelan photo)


The front of Building 27 at Jefferson Barracks. Built in 1898 as quarters for cavalry soldiers, the historic structure is slated to become the home of a National Guard joint reserve military intelligence program. (Bill Phelan photo)


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