The Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC) (JBCC) is a complex place. Within its bounds are the members of four military commands training for missions at home and overseas, conducting airborne search and rescue missions and intelligence command and control. There are also experts working to maintain and protect the environment.
As a military installation, the JBCC has been used since National Guard training began on the Cape in 1911. During the 1940s, the base was activated by the U.S. Army and used to train and deploy troops being sent to fight in World War II. After the war, the reservation was transferred to the Department of the Air Force and is still often referred to as Otis Air Force Base. In the 1970s, the Army National Guard assumed operational control of Camp Edwards from the U.S. Army, while around the same time, Otis became Otis Air National Guard Base. The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod was established on JBCC in 1970 and in 2008 assumed full responsibility for all airfield operations on the base.
Historically, the land comprising the JBCC was home to the Wampanoag tribe, who used the area for daily living and sacred sites. Before becoming fully used as a military installation, part of the land that makes up the reservation was used for sheep farming and the trees were harvested for the shipbuilding trade.
So, what is the JBCC today? Of its 22,000 acres, 15,000 acres comprise the northern training area, the major training area for Army National Guard soldiers in the Northeast, where soldiers practice maneuvering exercises and bivouacking, or camping, and use the small arms ranges. The northern 15,000 acres of the JBCC is the largest piece of undeveloped land on Cape Cod and is home to 37 state-listed species living in a variety of habitats throughout the base. The JBCC also sits atop an underground aquifer that supplies drinking water to Upper Cape Cod.
In the cantonment or developed area in the southern part of the base are training support facilities such as training simulators, hangars and support facilities for Massachusetts Army National Guard aviation units and the Massachusetts Air National Guard 102nd Intelligence Wing, 253rd Combat Communications Group and U.S. Coast Guard facilities, including Coast Guard family housing, with almost 2,000 residents.
The JBCC is home to five military commands, including the Massachusetts Army National Guard at Camp Edwards; the Massachusetts Air National Guard at Otis Air National Guard Base; the 253rd Combat Communications Group, also at Otis Air National Guard Base; the 6th Space Warning Squadron phased array radar site at Cape Cod Air Force Station; and the U.S. Coast Guard at Air Station Cape Cod. These military commands work to protect the land, sea, and air of the northeastern United States. In addition, many military units and service members who work and train at the JBCC are participating in missions around the world.
Three programs are also at work cleaning up and protecting the environmental resources on and under the JBCC. The Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment’s Installation Restoration Program is responsible for the investigation and cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination from past military practices. The The Army National Guard's Impact Area Groundwater Study Program manages the investigation and cleanup of groundwater contamination and its sources on and emanating from the northern 15,000 acres. The Massachusetts National Guard Environmental & Readiness Center is dedicated to conducting all training at the JBCC in a manner that is protective of the environment now and in the future. The Environmental & Readiness Center also serves as the community’s link for information on the JBCC.
Massachusetts Air National Guard
102nd Intelligence Wing
The 102nd Intelligence Wing operates out of Otis Air National Guard Base in the southern portion of the Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC). The intelligence wing provides world-wide precision intelligence and command and control along with trained and experienced Airmen for expeditionary combat support and homeland security. The intelligence wing also maintains and operates base-wide services such as the drinking water supply, the wastewater treatment plant, roads, electrical power, and operates environmental programs ensuring that current intelligence wing operations are conducted in accordance with all state, federal and Department of Defense environmental requirements.
Contact Public Affairs, 508-968-4003
Massachusetts Air National Guard
253rd Combat Communications Group
The 253rd Combat Communications Group commands, organizes, equips, trains and staffs assigned and attached forces to ensure mission readiness in support of wartime requirements for combatant commanders. The group provides timely, ready, reliable forces and mission-ready communications equipment, as required.
Contact Public Affairs, 508-968-4003
Massachusetts Air National Guard
267th Combat Communications Squadron
The 267th Combat Communications Squadron deploys, operates and maintains Communications-Electronics (C-E) Unit Type Code (UTC) packages to support contingencies and provide communications services for operational commands and deployed war fighters worldwide. The squadron provides highly trained communications-electronics technicians and equipment for worldwide deployment.
Contact Public Affairs, 508-968-4003
U.S. Coast Guard
Air Station Cape Cod
Air Station Cape Cod (ASCC), with its three helicopters and four jets, is the only Coast Guard Aviation facility in the northeast. As such, ASCC is responsible for the waters from New Jersey to the Canadian border. Additionally, the Coast Guard manages all airfield operations for the joint use, exclusive military Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station. Centrally located on the JBCC, ASCC maintains the ability to launch a helicopter and/or jet within 30 minutes of a call, 365 days-a-year, 24 hours-a-day, and in nearly any weather condition. Coast Guard members at ASCC perform a variety of missions including search and rescue, homeland security, fisheries law enforcement, aids to navigation, marine safety, and marine environmental protection. Over three hundred active duty and civilian personnel work at ASCC and many Coast Guard families—approximately 2,000 residents—reside in housing on the JBCC.
Contact Air Station Cape Cod Quarterdeck, 508-968-6800
Massachusetts Army National Guard
Training Site Camp Edwards
Camp Edwards, encompassing 15,000 acres of the JBCC, is the primary military training facility for National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers throughout New England. Camp Edwards’ primary mission is to prepare soldiers for combat missions overseas as well as missions to serve and protect the homeland stateside. Training facilities at the base include a Tactical Training Base, used to simulate an overseas Forward Operating Base, urban operations training facilities, small arms ranges, convoy training, and state-of-the-art simulators. The facilities are also available for use by civilian first responders. Camp Edwards is also home to a National Guard aviation battalion with utility helicopter and air traffic control companies, three engineer units and the Regional Training Institute.
Contact Mass National Guard Public Affairs, 339-202-3952
Cape Cod Air Force Station
6th Space Warning Squadron
Cape Cod Air Force Station is the only land based radar site providing missile warning for the eastern coast of the United States and southern Canada against intercontinental and sea-launched ballistic missiles. The active duty U.S. and Canadian military, and BAE Systems contractors at the Air Force Station, also conduct space surveillance, with approximately 2,600 satellite tracks totaling about 9,100 observations daily. This critical tracking information is electronically transmitted to the Joint Space Operations Center—Space Situational Awareness Operations Cell at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, where it’s used to maintain a space catalog including more than 18,000 currently orbiting objects, serving an essential role of collision avoidance.
Contact Public Affairs 508-968-3277
Massachusetts National Guard
Environmental & Readiness Center
The Environmental & Readiness Center manages programs to maintain and improve training lands, protect natural and cultural resources, plan and design installation improvements, and manage and minimize hazardous materials and hazardous waste generated at Camp Edwards to guarantee the best training for soldiers and the highest level of protection for the environment at Camp Edwards. The center is responsible for balancing the needs of current training with environmental protection of the Massachusetts Army National Guard training lands at the base. The center also conducts community outreach activities to inform, involve and educate community members from the towns surrounding the JBCC. The center coordinates with all organizations on base and is a central point of contact for JBCC environmental program information.
Contact Emily Derbyshire, 508-968-5146
Massachusetts Army National Guard Groundwater Study Program
The Groundwater Study Program is addressing groundwater contamination and its sources on and emanating from Camp Edwards on the northern 15,000 acres of the JBCC. The program has cleaned more than 50,000 tons of soil from six source areas and treated more than 1 billion gallons of groundwater. Groundwater treatment systems are now treating 2.8 million gallons of groundwater per day and reducing those plumes with the highest levels of contamination. The program continues to move forward with plans to address other areas of contamination as necessary.
Contact Lori Boghdan, 508-968-5635
Air Force Civil Engineering Center (formerly AFCEE)
Installation Restoration Program
The Installation Restoration Program, managed by AFCEC, is responsible for the investigation and cleanup of contamination from past military practices at the JBCC. The program has managed 80 source areas and 11 groundwater plumes in various stages of cleanup. AFCEC is currently treating approximately 13 million gallons of contaminated groundwater per day.
Contact Doug Karson, 508-968-4678, ext. 2
Environmental Management Commission
The Environmental Management Commission and its staff, with the assistance of two advisory councils, monitors military and other activities in the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve (the northern 15,000 acres of the JBCC). The purpose of the commission is to ensure the permanent protection of the drinking water supply and wildlife habitat on the reserve. The Commission is part of the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Contact Mark Begley, 508-968-5127
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures the protection of public health and the environment. The agency works with the JBCC military commands base wide to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and is involved with both the Air Force and Army cleanup and community involvement programs. EPA also provides compliance assistance, regulatory guidance, and input and review of plans and documents regarding the small arms ranges at Camp Edwards.
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is a state agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment, ensuring clean air and water, the safe management of toxics and hazards, the recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources. MassDEP works with the JBCC military commands base wide to ensure compliance with environmental regulations with both the Air Force and Army cleanup programs and provides compliance assistance, regulatory guidance, and input and review of plans and documents regarding small arms ranges at Camp Edwards.
Contact Ellie Grillo, 508-946-2866; Len Pinaud, 508-946-2871
Massachusetts National Cemetery
The Massachusetts National Cemetery is administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and is the only National Veterans’ Cemetery in New England. It occupies 750 acres on the JBCC.
Contact Paul McFarland, 508-563-7113
U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) safeguards the nation’s agricultural and natural resources from invasions of foreign pest organisms. This APHIS facility, Otis Pest Survey Detection and Exclusion Laboratory, provides operational support for national efforts to exclude and detect introductions of exotic pests. The laboratory also provides support for the control of pests, such as the emerald ash borer, Sirex wood wasp, Asian longhorned beetle, Asian gypsy moth, and offshore port monitoring programs.
Contact Vic Mastro, 508-563-9303, ext. 212
Senior Environmental Corps
The Senior AmeriCorps Program on Cape Cod assists technical professionals from the Environmental & Readiness Center and other entities on various environmental projects at the JBCC and performs groundwater monitoring well restoration and mosquito trapping/control projects.
Contact Arthur Neill, 508-968-5125
Civil Air Patrol (Cape Cod Composite Squadron)
The Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). First organized at the beginning of World War II, the CAP is a volunteer cadre that handles 90 percent of inland search and rescue missions in the United States. Civil Air Patrol planes have been among the first to survey the aftermath of such disasters as the attacks of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Civil Air Patrol enjoys a proud legacy of selfless sacrifice and service to country and community that spans decades through its Congressionally mandated tenets of Emergency Services, Cadet Programs, and Aerospace Education. This all volunteer force of Cadets & Senior. Members is the official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force and epitomizes our mantra of "Citizens Serving Communities".
Contact Kevin Lynch, 774-208-3365.
Other Users of the JBCC
Other users include the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary; Coast Guard Northeast Regional Fisheries Training Center; Coast Guard Port Security Unit 301; Coast Guard Electronic Support Detachment Cape Cod; Coast Guard Atlantic Area Armory; Federal Aviation Administration, North Atlantic Region; the Bourne School System (after school program); Coast Guard Communications Station, Boston; and the Otis Rod & Gun Club.