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Camp Devens was established in 1917 as a temporary training area for soldiers during World War I. In 1932, the site was named Fort Devens and made a permanent installation with the primary mission of commanding, training, and providing logistical support for non-divisional troop units. Fort Devens was used for a variety of training missions between 1917 and 1990. Pursuant to the CERCLA, Fort Devens was placed on the National Priorities List on November 21, 1989, due to environmental contamination at several sites.

Fort Devens was identified for cessation of operations and closure under Public Law 101-510, the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act of 1990, and officially closed in March 1996.

As part of the Devens BRAC program, portions of the property formerly occupied by Devens were retained by the U.S. Army (Army) for reserve forces training and renamed the Devens Reserve Forces Training Area (DRFTA). Areas not retained as part of the DRFTA were transferred to new owners, the Massachusetts Development and Finance Agency (MassDevelopment), U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for reuse and redevelopment. In 2009, the DRFTA was renamed the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Devens.

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