Article collaboration between Allen Hamrick and Aly Gregg
Since the beginning of the world, there has always been the pursuit of peace – days where generations could thrive individually, and with hard work, live comfortably with a continued search for the freedom to engage in adventurous activities. However, since the beginning of time there has also been a constant pursuit of power, money, and more power. With these come conflict, war, desperation and an endless supply of fear. There is nothing to stop the flocks of humans who want nothing but ultimate power and will do everything they can to get it. With that being said, I spoke with one elderly gentleman several years ago who gave me the insight of what it takes for peace and freedom to rule the day, “Whoever has the biggest weapon will decide whether there is freedom or if there is war.”
Down through history it has always been this way. To get power, you must have money and to get the money, you must disregard the lives of innocent people or whomever you hurt on the way up the ladder, both of which lead to conflict. The United States of America is one of the newest countries in this world but has become, in its short span of growth, one of the most powerful nations on earth. Our country was not formed in peace but in war, war with Native peoples, wars with the English, each other, and then the wars against the world during WWI and WWII. Thereafter, there were wars in Korea, Vietnam, and eventually against terrorists that still holds true to this day.
In all these conflicts, the people of this country have lived in relative freedom – freedom to work, think, dream, and believe what we choose to believe. The only way to have this freedom was to have the biggest gun in the holster with the greatest highly trained war fighters on Earth. Our military have not only have been the best fighters down through history but the best fighters with the best equipment…the biggest gun. With the threat of terrorism on the rise like no one has ever seen, it is most important to have highly skilled war fighters to combat these new threats.
Enter the Civil-Military Innovation Institute (CMI2), based in Morgantown, West Virginia, a company that has become a part of our county in a big way. Their Adaptive Experimentation Facility, AEF, located in Fola, West Virginia, offers a challenging and combat-realistic facility for military users seeking a multi-domain environment for research and development for military technology. CMI2 has been working on getting the facility up and running to its full potential. Not only does the site benefit our country but also the county as they progress to being the biggest and best training facility east of the Mississippi. This will bring much needed jobs to our county as they grow in operation. Ten CCHS students have benefitted already with CMI2’s internship program with some students already being hired full time to do various jobs on the site
This past week, CMI2 officials broke ground on the newest facility which will be the first of many permanent structures on site. The building will be a place where people who come to test equipment can stay. It will be fully functional with suites for lodging, conference rooms, a kitchen and dining room, and a place where they can feed hundreds of people. The founder of CMI2, Zenovy Wowczuk, proclaimed, “This groundbreaking represents our continued commitment to and investment in Clay County and the Adaptive Experimentation Facility. A collaborative and innovative approach to the development of the Fola facility has shown us there is a very real need for such facilities by the military, for training purposes and for field testing military technology. The feedback we have received from the military personnel who have used the facility has been overwhelmingly encouraging, and the logical next step for us is the investment in permanent facilities there.” Governor Jim Justice and West Virginia House Speaker Roger Hanshaw were on hand to speak at the event offering words of encouragement and their dedication to the cause.
The new CMI2 facility will include nearly 9,800 square feet and be constructed over the next year. Looking ahead to 2024, the new facility and the Adaptive Experimentation Force team will continue to support the military in exercises at the Fola site.
To date, the AEF has hosted some of the most notable units in the nation’s military. From the U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course, the West Virginia Army National Guard, and the 101st Airborne Division to Picatinny Arsenal and the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, the facility is quickly becoming a key destination for military experimentation and development. “I’m thrilled to see CMI2 building new facilities right here in Clay County, making our state a key destination for military experimentation and development,” Senator Shelley Capito said. “No matter which branch or unit, I know that the resources provided by CMI2 will result in even greater military readiness and signal that the opportunities for defense innovation are tremendous in West Virginia.”
Last week’s groundbreaking signifies the ongoing commitment and continued series of investments in not only Clay County but also the entire state of West Virginia with the construction of the first permanent office structure for the AEF. “As technology continues to advance, we must ensure that we are equipped with practical solutions to handle every threat that comes our way,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “Whether it’s testing against vulnerabilities or protecting critical infrastructure, we are well on our way to preparing our fellow West Virginians for a safer, better future. I am proud to have appropriated funds for this program and the countless opportunities that will come from it.”
Architectural services for the facility are provided by the Mills Groups LLC of Morgantown, West Virginia, and the contractor for the new building is Fairchance Construction Company of Fairchance, Pennsylvania.
Remember last week was Veteran’s Day. CMI2 and other research companies would not be the companies they are without the fighters that keep this country safe from oppressors and the veterans who kept this country secure before the days of high technology. Nor would our military be the fighters they are without companies like CMI2. Clay County is proud to have them as part of our community.