Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas
PBA was established in November 1941. The original construction cost was $60 million and created 21,000 jobs. PBA's initial mission in World War II was the manufacture of incendiary grenades and bombs, however, the mission quickly expanded to manufacture, loading and storage of war gases; and production and storage of pyrotechnic, riot control and white phosphorus munitions. PBA became the only U.S. site for the full-scale production of biological munitions in 1953 and continued this mission until 1969. Selected as the sole site for the Binary Chemical Munitions Production Facility in 1978, the program was active until 1990. A unique project for disposal of obsolete chemical agent BZ was initiated in 1980 and spanned a decade. In the 1980s, PBA served as the primary site for the "Rock Ready" chemical equipment recertification program. PBA entered the waste management and demilitarization arena upon completion of a unique multi-furnace incinerator complex in 1978, and completion of the first permitted hazardous waste landfill in the U.S. in 1983. PBA products and services were heavily utilized in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and Desert Storm. PBA remains the second largest U.S. storage site for the chemical weapons. PBA infrastructure is currently valued at over $1 billion and it continues to respond quickly and efficiently to changing needs as the nation's only active chemical biological defense arsenal.
Today, PBA satisfies the Department of Defense's peace time and replenishment requirements by providing the U.S. and allied forces with critical products and services that are primarily unavailable from other sources. PBA also provides specialized training and logistical support for the Department of Homeland Security. PBA's core primary missions include: conventional ammunition, chemical biological defense, engineering and technical support, mobile and powered systems support and base operations support to numerous tenant activities. Also a conventional depot, PBA has 1.3 million square feet of storage capacity with over 75,000 tons of inventory.
PBA operates under the Army Working Capital Fund (AWCF); a revolving fund that receives revenue from customer orders and pays expenses from the AWCF. An AWCF facility operates in a business-like environment; maintaining financial statements, balance sheets and income statements that are used as measuring tools to monitor the fiscal health of the business entity.
PBA has the capability to produce, renovate and store over 60 different conventional ammunition products ranging in caliber from 440 mm to 175 mm. 85 percent of these products are produced only at PBA. The Arsenal's specialties include production of munitions containing payloads for smoke (signaling, spotting and obscuration), non-lethal, riot control, incendiary, illumination and infrared uses. Smoke payload capabilities include white phosphorous, red phosphorous, terephathalic acid (TA) and hexaclorethane (HC) for both munitions and grenades. PBA is the only facility with the capability to fill white phosphorous munitions. The Arsenal is capable of producing munitions designed to provide friendly forces the capability to stop, confuse, disorient or momentarily deter a potential threat without use of deadly force. Incendiary munitions, produced at PBA, create a very high temperature in a concentrated area to destroy equipment such as vehicle mortars and electronic equipment. The Arsenal's illumination and infrared munitions are used to enhance night fighting capabilities by increasing the effectiveness of the Night Vision Devices (NVD).
Chemical/biological defense is a growing field of expertise at PBA. The Arsenal's leadership in the field of protective mask fabrication, repair and recertification dates back to the late 1970s. Today, PBA is the Army’s sole facility for the repair and rebuild of the M17 series, M9A1, M24, M25A1 and M40 masks as well as the M20 breathing apparatus. The Arsenal fabricates, fits, and tests chemical biological protective filters in various sizes and configurations. CB Defense industrial capabilities at PBA include the manufacture of personnel and equipment decontamination kits; repair, renovation and testing of chemical protective clothing; and the rebuild and calibration of defensive chemical test equipment. Since the nation’s increased focus on homeland defense, PBA has initiated programs for the training of civilian first responders and providing CB Defense technical equipment assistance and training for local jurisdictions.
PBA maintains an experienced, multi-disciplinary engineering staff to plan, manage and implement technical projects to support and develop existing and future manufacturing capabilities. The Arsenal's engineering staff oversees the design, installation and startup of new industrial facilities, development of methods and standards, value engineering, and capital investment programs. In addition to classic engineering support, PBA boasts a Production Engineering Laboratory (PEL) for new product development and product enhancement. The PEL provides a pilot plant equipped to support development programs, material change programs and manufacturing technology studies. These product engineering capabilities give the Arsenal a powerful tool in the design and optimization of chemical, pyrotechnic and non-pyrotechnic mixes and production processes. PBA is able to simulate various climatic and rough handling conditions including transportation-induced vibration.
The Arsenal maintains 44-single family housing units. There are 10 four-bedroom units, nine of which have two bathrooms and one of which has two and-a-half baths, and 34 three-bedroom units with one-and-a-half bathrooms. The four bedroom units are designated for field grade officers. Fourteen of the three bedroom units are designated for junior officers, and the remaining 20 are for senior NCOs.