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FBI chief ‘very excited’ about move to Huntsville

WASHINGTON — While the move of Space Command to Redstone Arsenal is becoming a political football, there is no such problem with the FBI’s game plan for Huntsville.

In fact, FBI Director Christopher Wray said he is “very excited about the future at Huntsville.”

His comments came this week to Sen. Katie Britt during a hearing of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Britt (R-Montgomery) told Wray the area is looking forward to the additional FBI employees and new facilities before asking questions.

“First, how does FBI Redstone fit into the FBI’s broader strategic plan for the future?” Britt asked. “And second, will FBI Redstone provide capacity to foster the professional development and training of your workforce to ensure that FBI has the most highly skilled and innovative and analytical workforce out there?”

Wray said the bureau has 19 divisions in Huntsville with about 1,800 employees and anticipates growing to about 3,000 employees.

The director said the Huntsville office will serve as an “innovation hub” for advanced training for agents.

“I think I see a couple things,” Wray said. “One, I view it as an innovation hub for the FBI. We’ve talked a lot already in this hearing about technology and our adversaries’ use of the technology and our need to use technology to be ahead of them, and that’s where I think the R&D efforts really is one way of short-handing it, I think would be really concentrated in Huntsville.

“We’re going to have a cyber-kinetic range where our cyber agents can train. An innovation hub so — so it’s both innovation and advanced training.”

Wray also said the FBI plans to expand its Counter-IED Center of Excellence on Redstone.

“… We already have a counter-IED Center of Excellence there with TEDAC (Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center) which is where IEDs from all over the world are sent to do forensics on those IEDs, which then leaves to lives saved on the battlefield,” he said. “So, we’re looking to grow that as well.”

Britt offered the area’s engineering and technology experienced workforce to help the FBI.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you and the FBI to continue leverage Huntsville’s highly skilled workforce and vast national security industrial base, whether it is network engineering, quantum computing, artificial intelligence or counter UAS,” she said. “Huntsville has the experience and stands ready to support the FBI’s mission.”

In closing, Wray said he won’t be a stranger and is enjoying the “buzz” from Huntsville.

” … I’ve been to visit there as you, said many times, and I’m sure I will visit many more,” he said. “And every time I’m struck by the buzz and the hum of the activity and, frankly, how excited and enthusiastic all of our people and our partners are there.”

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