Picatinny Arsenal is a 6,500-acre United States Army installation located roughly 35 miles away from New York City in northwest New Jersey. The Arsenal operates there as the Army Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition and more than 6,000 personnel work there in a joint military service environment.
Find information about including the main commercial and DSN numbers for the base, information on basic services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PCSing personnel, and inprocessing.
Mission & Units
As the Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, Picatinny Arsenal has more than 6,000 personnel responsible for research, development, and management of advanced conventional weapon systems and ammunition. According to DoD sources, the Arsenal is responsible for nearly all lethality and all conventional ammunition needs. A list of their “products” includes:
- Improvised explosive device countermeasures
- Precision-guided munitions
- Fire control systems
- Small-arms weapon systems
Agencies and organizations at the Arsenal:
- Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC)
- Army Contracting Center-New Jersey
- DCMA Springfield (DCMAE-MS)
- Joint Munitions and Lethality Lifecycle Management Command
- Network Enterprise Center (NEC)
- PM Soldier Weapons
- Program Executive Office for Ammunition (PEO Ammo)
Picatinny Arsenal is one of those military facilities that has basically operated the same general kind of mission over much of its existence. Unlike some bases which started off as Army posts and were later transferred to other military branches, Picatinny Arsenal is still a post operated by the U.S. Army though functioning in a joint-service environment.
The story begins in 1880 with the War Department drafting Special Order No. 189, establishing something called the Dover Powder Depot–quickly renamed Picatinny Powder Depot. In 1907, the Army established its first powder factory there and was eventually redesignated as Picatinny Arsenal.
During World War Two, this was the location of the only manufacturing plant in America that could generate certain types of ammunition needed for the war effort.
With the manufacture of explosives and ammunition, there are inevitable safety issues. One such event in 1926, a lighting strike on an ammunition storage facility, sparked a blaze resulting in multiple days of incidents involving “several million pounds” of explosives going off in the fire. Roughly a billion dollars worth of ammunition in today’s money.
An investigation by Congress followed and this incident resulted in the creation of an Armed Forces Explosives Safety Board to prevent future incidents. It also resulted in the creation of a remote depot intended to serve the West Coast.
In the 21st century, the Army continues to research and develop new technology for a variety of munitions, weapons and armor systems.
- Army Community Service (ACS) (973) 724-7247
- Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) (973) 724-4357
- Chaplain (973) 724-4139
- Child Development Center (973) 724-4337
- Director of Emergency Services (973) 724-6964
- Emergency 911
- Human Resources Office (973) 724-9003
- ID and CAC Card Processing (973) 724-3145
- Operator (800) 831-2759
- Parent and Outreach Services (973) 724-5555
- SKIES Unlimited (973) 724-4994
- Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255
- Youth Services and Teen Center (973) 724-7183
- TRICARE (732) 532-3203
- Balfour Beatty Communities (973) 328-2992
- Housing Service Office (973) 724-2190
- School Support Services (SSS) (973) 724-4994
Picatinny Arsenal is situated between the Pocono Mountains and an hour’s drive to the Jersey Shore. There are many travel possibilities for those stationed here. New York City offers too many attractions to name but everyone knows Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The New York Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and many more.
Some will be tempted by the New York City Operas or the New York City Ballet but nearby Atlantic City is two hours away by car, and Philadelphia is roughly an hour and 45 minutes by car.
In the opposite direction, New Haven, Connecticut, West Point, and Poughkeepsie, New York are roughly equal distance or less. Driving times in these areas are complicated by traffic issues, construction, and other factors. Know your departure and arrival times and avoid peak driving hours for best results.
Inprocessing and Check-In
All inbound troops are required to call the Military Personnel Directorate (973-724-8053) BEFORE arriving, and on arrival reporting to the Directorate in person is required to in-process. Soldiers should have the following paperwork with them when reporting in person:
- DA Form 31 (leave form)
- Military assignment orders/PCS orders and all applicable amendments.
- Any required updates to DD Form 93
- Any required updates to SGLI
There are NO medical services on post, and Picatinny is a TRICARE Prime Remote location in the TRICARE East Region. Call 800-444-5445 for more information on healthcare options in this location. Keller Army Community Hospital is located approximately one hour away from Picatinny Arsenal.
The Child Development Center (CDC) at Picatinny Arsenal handles all on-post child care needs for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Full day programs, plus hourly care and part-day preschool are also options.
Waiting lists apply and due to demand the Picatinny CDC advises, “Placement on the waiting list does not guarantee care when needed. Placement in a program depends on openings available at the time you require care.” Call 973-724-5555 or DSN 312-880-5555 to learn about waiting lists and current eligibility requirements.
All incoming personnel are directed to track and manage inbound household goods shipments to Picatinny Arsenal via the Defense Personal Property System at Move.mil, but you can also call the Transportation Division PPSO (Personal Property) – Inbound at 973-724-9534 or (DSN) 312-880-9534.
Dependent And Retiree ID Card Renewal, Replacement, New Issue
All ID card services at Picatinny Arsenal should be scheduled via the RAPIDS system. You can use the search tool on the main page to find Picatinny Arsenal, or call the Arsenal directly at (973) 724-3145 for more information. Sponsors must be present or there must be a power of attorney specifically granting ID card service permissions for the dependents.
Soldiers E-4 and below require a counseling statement signed by an E-7 and above to replace lost or stolen Common Access Cards. Civilians, Contractors and Military Personnel must provide “a police report and 2 forms of ID in order to get a card reissued” according to the official site.
There are no on-post schools at Picatinny Arsenal. All military families with school-age children will need to contact the Rockaway Township Public School District for current transfer requirements for Kindergarten through 8th grade, and Morris Hills Regional School District for grades 9-12.
Registration is done by phone initially. Call the Rockaway Township School District 973-627-2200 and Morris Hills Regional School District at 973-664-2200.
Housing on post has traditionally been limited, though some units have been added to accommodate demand. It’s best to make arrangements for housing as soon as you have orders; on-post homes are privately managed by Balfour Beatty Communities under the name Picatinny Homes. Waiting lists may apply.
New arrivals are directed NOT to enter into any legally binding agreements for rental or purchase in the area until they have reported to the Housing Services Office (call 973-724-2190). New Jersey is notorious for being one of the five most expensive housing markets in the United States according to some sources, this is a factor you will definitely want to learn more about before committing whether you need housing on or off-post.
Unaccompanied service members do NOT have an on-post housing option and must seek housing in the local area.
PCS and TDY Lodging
Those PCSing or coming to Picatinny Arsenal on TDY orders can make reservations for on-post TLF via Community Recreation at 973-724-8855 during normal duty hours.
At certain high-volume times of the year active duty military have priority, otherwise reservations open on the first business day of each month, applicable for travel in the following month. Pet facilities may not be available, call ahead for best results or you may have to explore your local pet boarding options.
Picatinny Arsenal’s New Jersey location makes it accessible from any of the following airports:
- Newark Liberty International
- John F. Kennedy International
Due to the potential for long delays in traffic depending on the time of day, time of year, and other variables that may affect your arrival, it is best to coordinate with your gaining command support staff or sponsor if you must travel to the New Jersey area for TDY or PCS moves.
The actual geographic distances involved travelwise from these airports aren’t the issue, but rather the sheer volume of traffic, complicated by weather, construction, etc.
Travelers flying into Newark International Airport have been advised in the past that no USO assistance was available there, but as of 2016 there is a USO center at the Newark airport–advertised services include transportation information.
Airport shuttle services may be available to Picatinny Arsenal depending on where and when you arrive. On post, an official-business-only shuttle operates during normal duty hours.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
All vehicles operating at Picatinny Arsenal must fully comply with all New Jersey requirements including mandatory insurance, safety equipment, etc. Registering your vehicle on-post is not required, but there are restricted-access areas of the base that require photo ID.
All vehicles operated at the Arsenal are subject to random inspections and searches.