ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Since its founding 100 years ago, Aberdeen Proving Ground has brought the latest technological discoveries to fruition as state-of-the-art equipment for the U.S. warfighter.
In desperate need for newer and larger ammunition after entering World War I, the Army established APG on Oct. 20, 1917 to proof and manufacture ordnance. Concurrently, Edgewood Arsenal was founded as a separate installation, with the sole purpose of providing the Army with the weapons needed to fight in a war in which chemical weapons were used.
Since that time, the Army and APG have changed alongside American and global society. The proving ground has supported military technologies through both world wars, the Korean War, the decades of Cold War, Vietnam Conflict, Persian Gulf War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Despite many reorganizations and name changes, APG tenants and missions have constantly evolved to keep pace with the growing technology of war.
Over the course of a century, however, one thing has remained constant: the goal to provide superior equipment and support to the U.S. warfighter.
As the Army looks to 2030 and beyond, APG continues to make critical contributions to the Army and national security through its diverse centers of excellence, including:
Research & Development (R&D)
As the Army’s hub for research and development, APG is a $1 billion research and development resource, making it key player in the nation’s homeland defense and international counterterrorism efforts, and an economic and technology resource for the region.
From basic and applied research, APG engineers and scientists advance the areas of supercomputing, cyber defense, energy-harvesting, personal protective equipment, pathogen detection, and unmanned vehicles and aircraft. They keep APG at the forefront of maintaining the U.S. warfighter’s battlefield advantage well into the future.
Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR)
APG directly supports the verification, accreditation and integration of network and cyber systems into a unified, functioning and secure network.
Organizations at the proving ground develop, manage procurement efforts, field and sustain the Army’s tactical network systems and intelligence gathering and analysis tools.
The Army’s state-of-the-art C4ISR research and integration laboratories and facilities located at APG play a critical role in validating capabilities before they reach the hands of a Soldier. This ensures service members have the secure, effective and intuitive communications tools needed to complete their missions.
Test & Evaluation (T&E)
The test and support facilities at APG allow instrumented firing of weapons on a variety of state-of-the-art ranges, testing of tanks and other tracked vehicles over specifically engineered courses, and a wide variety of laboratory-type investigations.
Newly designed weapons and other combat material are put through the most grueling field and laboratory workouts conceivable.
In 2016 alone, the personnel behind APG test missions– fired more than 3 million rounds of 61 different types including static detonations, tank rounds, and small arms munitions. Automotive and watercraft testing covered more than 139,000 land and 35,000 nautical miles.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear & Explosives (CBRNE) Research and Defense
APG is the Army’s primary center for development, fielding, sustainment and deployments of CBRNE threat reduction and protection capabilities.
APG South (Edgewood) serves as the nation’s principal research and development resource for non-medical and medical chemical biological defense, and supports all phases of the acquisition lifecycle.
The Army’s key Soldier formation dedicated to combating CBRNE threats facing the nation, who identify, assess, render safe, dismantle, exploit, decontaminate, transfer, and dispose of CBRNE hazards, including weapons of mass destruction, unexploded ordnance, and improvised explosive devices, also resides at APG.
Organizations work closely with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and recently assisted in the demilitarization of Syrian chemical weapons. Countless individuals have deployed worldwide in support CBRNE operations in combat and civil assist roles.
Public Health Sciences
Army readiness is enhanced through efforts of APG’s Public Health Sciences Center of Excellence, which identifies and assesses current and emerging health threats, develops and communicates public health solutions, and assures the quality and effectiveness of the Army’s public health enterprise.
Supporting the Army’s Medical Command, APG is home to medical, dental and veterinary units and the Army’s Public Health Center. APHC promotes and supports all facets of comprehensive public health services, including: environmental health; epidemiology; health risk management; and occupational health.
From water quality, food protection and disease surveillance, to stress management, hearing loss prevention, and laboratory sample analysis, the Army’s diverse public health mission is centered at APG.
The next 100 years
If a Soldier uses a piece of technology to shoot, move, communicate or improve their situational awareness, chances are it was developed, tested and fielded by an APG organization.
Team APG continues to advance the techniques and equipment of tomorrow’s weapons into today’s tasks.
As the Army prepares to field its two new combat and tactical vehicles and looks to unmanned, or driverless, vehicle prototypes, APG will serve as the focal point to put these vehicles through their paces to provide the best capability to the warfighter.
As the face of war shifts from a kinetic battlefield to cyberspace, APG organizations work diligently to address the full life cycle of cyber, electronic warfare and network development, test, acquisition and sustainment.
To meet the Army’s evolving cyber materiel needs, the Army’s Rapid Capabilities Office has positioned entities at APG help prioritize, integrate and contract for capability while also prioritizing requirements across APG based program executive offices for execution.
It is through these missions that APG is recognized as the most diversified military installation in the nation. It is one of the world’s most important research and development, testing and evaluation facilities for military weapons and equipment, and supports the finest teams of military and civilian scientists, research engineers, technicians and administrators.
From the earliest concepts of a battlefield requirement, through basic research and on into development and proofing, APG no longer devotes its attention exclusively to ordnance items, but tests and proofs all Army materials with which U.S. service members defend this nation and the free world.
Reflecting on the past 100 years and eyeing the future, Team APG remains dedicated to continuing its legacy of innovation at the Army’s oldest proving ground.