The original Detroit Arsenal was established in the Michigan Territory along the banks of the Detroit River in 1817. Built to support American troops from Indian warfare, the Arsenal also served as an Army depot for repairing guns and storing gun powder and ammunition. The inventory included small brass cannons, powder horns, howitzers, and horse harnesses.
In 1832, the Arsenal moved to a site which is now in the city of Dearborn. Construction of the installation was completed in 1837 and consisted of eleven buildings surrounded by a high brick wall. The Arsenal remained active through the American Civil War until 1875, at which time it was closed and sold by the government.
During World War II, the Detroit Arsenal was reestablished in Warren, Mich. and served as a “Product Center.” Efforts concentrated on supervising the development, engineering, procurement, manufacturing, field maintenance and scrapping of automotive material used by the Armed Forces.
In August 1940, Chrysler Corporation was awarded the contract for erection and operation of the first manufacturing factory in the United States to mass-produce tanks. In just a little more than eight months, the first tank had been produced. The facility was originally called the Detroit Ordnance Plant, but was officially renamed the Detroit Tank Arsenal on May 29, 1941. During the Second World War, the Arsenal produced 22,234 new tanks and refurbished 2,825 armored vehicles. After 56 years, the plant closed in 1996.
The Detroit Arsenal is currently home to U.S. Army command groups and organizations engaged in promoting, supporting and sustaining the research, development, and total life cycle management of ground vehicle systems for our Warfighters.
The Detroit Arsenal organizations service all military branches and members of the Department of Defense, to include Service members, Civilians, Families, and Retirees. Family and childcare services are also located on the installation to promote total mission readiness.
The Garrison was established in 1971 as an adjunct to the 28th Artillery Group, designated the U.S. Army Support Detachment located on the Selfridge Air National Guard Base. Under the operational control of Detachment 1, the primary mission was to manage and maintain base housing and provide morale support activities. In 2003, the Directorate of Installation Support at Detroit Arsenal and the Garrison at Selfridge merged into a Garrison under the U.S. Army Installation Management Agency (in 2006 renamed Installation Management Command). Services continued at the Selfridge ANG Base until the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure.
As of 2017, the Detroit Arsenal employs 7,500 civilians and 230 military personnel. The Garrison employs approximately 140 appropriated fund employees and more than 200 non appropriated fund employees.