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Aberdeen Proving Ground

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Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) is a United States Army facility located near Aberdeen, Maryland, (in Harford County). Part of the facility is a census-designated place (CDP), which had a population of 3,116 at the 2000 census.



APG is the U.S. Army's oldest active proving ground, established on October 20, 1917, six months after the U.S. entered World War I. Its location allowed design and testing of ordnance materiel to take place near contemporary industrial and shipping centers. The proving ground was created as a successor to the Sandy Hook Proving Ground, which was too small for some of the larger weapons being tested. At the peak of World War II, APG had billeting space for 2,348 officers and 24,189 enlisted personnel.

Other components

Other parts of APG not attached to the main installation include the Churchville Test Area in Harford County, and the Carroll Island and Graces Quarters in Baltimore County, Maryland. The Churchville Test Area is a test track with hills that provide steep natural grades and tight turns to stress engines, drivetrains, and suspensions for army vehicles, including M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Humvees.

Edgewood Chemical Activity is a chemical-weapons depot located at APG. Elimination of the chemicals held here was put on an accelerated schedule after the September 11, 2001, attacks, and all chemical weapons were destroyed by February 2006.

The U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Museum previously located at APG, was moved to Fort Lee, Virginia as a result of the 2005 Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC) Act.


APG is located at and occupies a land area of . Its northernmost point is near the mouth of the Susquehanna River, where the river enters the Chesapeake Bay, while on the south, it is bordered by the Gunpowder River. The installation lies on two peninsulas separated by the Bush River. The northeastern is known as the Aberdeen Area and the southwestern is called the Edgewood Area (formerly the Edgewood Arsenal).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of , of that, of it is land and of it (5.09%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,116 people, 805 households, and 763 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 274.1 people per square mile (105.8/km ). There were 902 housing units at an average density of 79.3/sq mi (30.6/km ). The racial makeup of the CDP was 50.5% White, 34.6% African American, 0.6% Native American, 3.1% Asian, 1.3% Pacific Islander, 5.7% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races; 11.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 805 households out of which 78.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 84.1% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.2% were non-families; 4.3% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.52 and the average family size was 3.63.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 40.1% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 44.9% from 25 to 44, 4.4% from 45 to 64, and 0.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 113.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.6 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $38,875, and the median income for a family was $40,306. Males had a median income of $26,943 versus $26,194 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $12,808. About 4.2% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program, as announced in 2005, the APG is projected to lose the Ordnance School and associated R&D facilities with 3862 military and 290 civilian jobs moving to Fort Lee, Virginia. APG will gain 451 military and 5,661 civilian jobs from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. There is a net loss of 3,411 military jobs under BRAC and a net gain of 5,371 civilian jobs.

Enhanced-use lease

In 2005, APG executed an Enhanced use lease (EUL) partnership with Opus East, L.L.C. (a subsidiary of Opus Corporation), a commercial real-estate development company. The EUL allows APG to ground lease temporarily underutilized land of the installation to a selected real estate developer. APG uses the proceeds from the ground lease for facility improvements and maintenance on the installation (i.e., new buildings, infrastructure improvements, deferred maintenance, road upgrades on post, etc.). In June 2009, Opus East assigned its EUL development rights to St. John Properties, Inc., a Baltimore-based commercial real estate development firm.

Under the EUL, St. John Properties has entered into a long-term ground lease of federally owned property for the development of commercial office space and research-and-development (R&D) space. The EUL development will provide new, high-quality buildings and facilities for the military/civilian tenants and their supporting government contractors who are relocating to APG because of the 2005 round of the BRAC process. The development of the EUL, known as The GATE Office and Technology Park or The GATE project, comprises 416 acres (1.68 km2), 11 land bays, and up to of development potential both inside and outside the secure perimeter of APG. St. John Properties is building new speculative office and R&D buildings for lease to both defense contractors and military/federal agencies.

In addition to office and R&D buildings, St. John Properties is developing an office and retail component just outside APG s security gate. The GATE is being developed to meet anti-terrorism and force-protection standards, and will include sustainable-design elements to achieve LEED Silver Certification. The GATE is strategically located to allow private military contractors (PMCs) doing work for various military commands on APG to be closer to their client. The first building at The GATE was delivered in 2008 to CACI, an information-technology security PMC. In October 2010, L-3 Communications took occupancy of a building at The GATE, as did Raytheon Company, another building. In 2010, St. John Properties delivered three additional speculative buildings for lease. Complete development of The GATE project is expected to span five to 10 years.


A scandal at the APG surfaced in 1996. The U.S. Army brought charges against twelve commissioned and non-commissioned male officers for sexual assault of female trainees under their command.

See also

  • Aberdeen scandal (1996)
  • United States Army Research Laboratory
  • Ballistic Research Laboratory
  • Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake
  • Dugway Proving Ground
  • U.S. Army Ordnance Museum
  • Herman Heine Goldstine
  • Edgewood Arsenal experiments
  • Maryland World War II Army Airfields
  • Nevada Test and Training Range
  • Semipalatinsk Test Site


Further reading

  • Oliveros, James P. and Don A. Vroblesky. (1989). Hydrogeology of the Canal Creek area, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland [Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4021 ]. Towson, Md.: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
  • Olsen, Lisa D. and Tracey A. Spencer (2000). Assessment of volatile organic compounds in surface water at West Branch Canal Creek, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, 1999 [Open-File Report 00-203]. Baltimore, Md.: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services. (1997). Army sexual harassment incidents at Aberdeen Proving Ground and sexual harassment policies within the Department of Defense: hearing before the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, One Hundred Fifth Congress, first session, February 4, 1997. Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office.

External links

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