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Fort Belvoir

Coordinates: 38°43′11″N 77°09′16″W / 38.719737°N 77.154582°W / 38.719737; -77.154582
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Fort Belvoir
Fairfax County, Virginia, U.S.
Emblems of units stationed at Ft. Belvoir
Fort Belvoir is located in Northern Virginia
Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir is located in Virginia
Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir is located in the United States
Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir
Coordinates38°43′11″N 77°09′16″W / 38.719737°N 77.154582°W / 38.719737; -77.154582
Site information
Controlled byU.S. Army
Site history
Built1917 (1917)
Garrison information
COL Joseph V. Messina
Garrison29th Infantry Division (Light)
9th Theater Support Command
1st Information Operations Command (Land)
12th Aviation Battalion (MDW)
249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power)
212th Military Police Detachment (MDW)
55th Ordnance Company (EOD)
75th MP Detachment (CID)
Army Intelligence and Security Command
Military Intelligence Readiness Command
902nd Military Intelligence Group
Defense Logistics Agency
Defense Contract Audit Agency
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Missile Defense Agency
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Aerospace Data Facility-East
Occupants51,000+ employees[1] (Fort Belvoir)
7,637 residents (Fort Belvoir CDP)

Fort Belvoir (/ˈbɛlvwɑːr/ BEL-vwar) is a United States Army installation and a census-designated place (CDP) in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. It was developed on the site of the former Belvoir plantation, seat of the prominent Fairfax family for whom Fairfax County was named. It was known as Camp A. A. Humphreys from 1917 to 1935 and Fort Belvoir afterward.

Fort Belvoir is home to a number of significant United States military organizations. With nearly twice as many workers as The Pentagon, Fort Belvoir is the largest employer in Fairfax County. Fort Belvoir comprises three geographically distinct areas: main base, Davison Army Airfield, and Fort Belvoir North.



The Fort Belvoir site was originally the home of William Fairfax, the cousin and land agent of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron the proprietor of the Northern Neck, which stood on land now part of the base. William Fairfax purchased the property in 1738 when his cousin arranged for him to be appointed customs agent (tax collector) for the Potomac River, and William erected an elegant brick mansion overlooking the river, moving in with his family in 1740. Lord Fairfax came to America in 1747 and stayed less than a year at the Belvoir estate before moving to Greenway Court. The Fairfax family lived at Belvoir for over 30 years, but eldest son (and heir) George William Fairfax sailed to England on business in 1773, never to return. The manor home was destroyed by fire in 1783.

The ruins of the Belvoir Mansion and the nearby Fairfax family grave site are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


An infantryman in training at Fort Belvoir in November 1942, during World War II

The post was founded during World War I as Camp A. A. Humphreys, named for Union Army general Andrew A. Humphreys, who was also Chief of Engineers. The post was renamed Fort Belvoir in the 1930s at the request of Howard W. Smith, a Congressman from Virginia, in recognition of the Belvoir plantation that once occupied the site.[2] The adjacent United States Army Corps of Engineers Humphreys Engineer Center retains part of the original name.

Camp Humphreys was established in World War I as the U.S. Army Engineers Training School. It served as the post-graduate institution for U.S. Military Academy engineers and a finishing school for engineering troops headed to war.[3] The school, which came to host the Engineer Officer Basic Course, relocated in 1988 from Fort Belvoir to Fort Leonard Wood, in Missouri.[4]

As a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, a substantial number of personnel were transferred to Fort Belvoir, and others were civilians employed there. All major Washington, D.C.-area National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) facilities, including those in Bethesda, MD, Reston, VA, and Washington, D.C. were consolidated at a new facility, the NGA Campus East, situated on the former Engineer Proving Ground site.[5] The cost of the new center was $2.4 billion.[6]

The Army Historical Foundation announced in March 2017, its intent to begin the construction of the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir. The museum, set on 84 acres (34 ha), will tell the story of the army since 1775. The 185,000-square-foot (17,200 m2) museum will feature historical galleries, an "interactive Experiential Learning Center" and the Army Theater. There will also be outdoor venues including a Memorial Garden, Amphitheater, Parade Ground, and Army Trail. It opened to the public on November 11, 2020.[7]

In 2020, in the wake of the George Floyd protests and petitions to rename U. S. army bases with names related to the Confederacy, it was proposed that the fort be renamed as well. While not named after a Confederate officer, it was renamed after a slave plantation that was once owned by prominent 18th century Loyalist land owner George William Fairfax. Representative Howard W. Smith, who requested the 1930 renaming, was an old-school Southern Democrat who was sympathetic to the then-popular Dunning School of history that revered the Confederacy, and resented a base in Virginia being named after Andrew A. Humphreys, a Union Army general. The name of the base has been criticized as improperly nostalgic for slavery and the antebellum era.

In June 2021, the fort was initially included in a list of military bases to be considered for renaming by a newly created Naming Commission.[2] Later in March 2022, the Commission determined that Fort Belvoir did not meet the criteria provided in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act for making a renaming recommendation. However, the Commission recommended that the Department of Defense conduct its own review of the naming of the fort based on results of the commission's historical research.[8][9]

Units and agencies[edit]

Fort Belvoir serves as the headquarters for the Defense Logistics Agency, the Defense Acquisition University, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, the Defense Technical Information Center, the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command, the United States Army Military Intelligence Readiness Command, the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Fort Belvoir is home to the Virginia National Guard's 29th Infantry Division (Light) and elements of ten Army Major Commands; nineteen different agencies and direct reporting units of the Department of Army; eight elements of the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard; and twenty-six Department of Defense agencies. Also located here are the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), the Military District of Washington's 12th Aviation Battalion which provides rotary-wing movement to the DoD and Congress, a Marine Corps detachment, a United States Air Force activity, United States Army Audit Agency, and an agency from the Department of the Treasury. In addition, Fort Belvoir is home to National Reconnaissance Office's (NRO) Aerospace Data Facility-East (ADF-E).[10][11]


Location of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia

Fort Belvoir is a census-designated place, consisting of the South Post and North Post and excluding Davison Army Airfield, the North Area, and the Southwest Area. Neighboring CDPs are Mount Vernon to the east, Woodlawn and Groveton to the northeast, Hayfield and Kingstowne to the north, and Franconia and Newington to the northwest.

2020 census[edit]

At the 2020 census (some information from the 2022 American Community Survey) there were 7,637 people, 2,107 housing units and 1,810 households residing in the CDP. The population density was 862.9 inhabitants per square mile (333.2/km2). The average housing unit density was 238.1 per square mile (91.9/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 58.83% White, 16.32% African American, 0.50% Native American, 3.42% Asian, 0.88% Pacific Islander, 4.49% from other races, and 15.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 16.72% of the population.[12]

Of the households, 86.6% were married couple families, 2.8% were a male family householder with no spouse, and 9.8% were a female family householder with no spouse. The average family household had 4.21 people.[12]

The median age was 19.5, 48.0% of people were under the age of 18, and 0.1% were 65 years of age or older. The largest ancestry is the 13.2% who had Irish ancestry, 9.5% spoke a language other than English at home, and 3.7% were born outside the United States, 70.7% of whom were naturalized citizens.[12]

The median income for a household in the CDP was $97,290, and the median income for a family was $97,101. 19.9% of the population were military veterans, and 51.5% had a batchelor's degree or higher. In the CDP 4.8% of the population was below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under the age of 18 and none of those aged 65 or over, with 0.5% of the population without health insurance.[12]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Fort Belvoir has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[13]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Fort Belvoir thinks outside the gates for better relations with neighbors (especially drivers)". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ a b Seidule, Ty (16 June 2021). "What to rename the Army bases that honor Confederate soldiers". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  3. ^ "At Camp Humphreys, Va". The Sunday Star, Washington, DC, pg 68. 23 June 1918. Newspapers.com. https://www.newspapers.com/image/332637670
  4. ^ "Engineer School Opens at Fort Leonard Wood". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 1 June 1988. ProQuest 1492711189.
  5. ^ NGA Campus East Archived 1 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine, nga.mil
  6. ^ Davenport, Christian, "Projects' Costs Are Rising", Washington Post, 31 March 2009, p. B4
  7. ^ "New Museum Tells the Story of the U.S. Army".
  8. ^ Lara, Paul (17 March 2022). "Commission: Fort Belvoir's name remains, for now". InsideNoVa.
  9. ^ Part III: Remaining Department of Defense Assets. The Naming Commission (Report). 19 September 2022. p. 17. Archived from the original on 5 October 2022. Despite the Commission's determination that renaming Fort Belvoir falls outside the legislative language provided in the FY21 NDAA for making a recommendation to rename the base, it is the Commission's decision that the historical facts recounting the renaming Fort Belvoir from Fort Humphreys in 1935 be included in this report (see Appendix E).The Commission strongly encourages the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army to review these historical facts and consider renaming Fort Belvoir based on existing protocols for the naming/renaming of installations and facilities.
  10. ^ Mission Ground Station Declassification memo, 2008
  11. ^ "NRO Mission Ground Station Declassification" (PDF). National Reconnaissance Office. 15 October 2008.
  12. ^ a b c d "Fort Belvoir CDP, Virginia". data.census.gov. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  13. ^ Climate Summary for Fort Belvoir

External links[edit]