In the early 1940s, the Army's 1.3 million-square-foot Detroit Arsenal was built in just
seven months. The facility had a single purpose: to build quality tanks. The Army chose the site for the
arsenal because of the area's wealth of automotive technology and manufacturing capability.
In 1946, the Tank-Automotive Components Laboratory, now known as the Tank Automotive Research,
Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), was formed at the recommendation of a committee led
by Chrysler Corporation's President K.T. Keller. This committee comprised of leading engineers from
Chrysler, Continental Aviation & Engineering, Ethyl, Ford, General Motors, Hudson Motor Car,
International Harvester, Packard, Studebaker and Timken Detroit Axle determined that Detroit
would be an ideal location for a military automotive laboratory. The newly created Components
Laboratory spawned many successful collaborative working relationships.
As part of the current TARDEC organization, the National Automotive Center (NAC) is responsible for
advancing this emphasis on collaboration. This is accomplished by working with private industry to
leverage commercial automotive technologies for military use.
With more than 60 percent of U.S. automotive engineers living and working in Michigan, TARDEC
resides in the heart of a concentrated source of automotive intellectual property unmatched anywhere
in the country.