East Camden is a city in Ouachita County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 931 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Camden Micropolitan Statistical Area. East Camden was originally called Billkitts Rental Housing and began as a planned community created to support the nearby Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot.
As he did for the rest of the facility, the depot's Chief Maintenance Engineer, A.T. Smith, designed the general layout of the town and named its streets. U.S. Senator John Little McClellan later arranged for Smith, who boasted the most intimate knowledge of the depot, to travel to Washington D.C. and negotiate "over White House tea" with Lyndon B. Johnson to transfer ownership of the sprawling NAD complex to Johnson's Brown and Root.
Brown and Root's Highland Resources would later transform the depot into an industrial park catering primarily to defense contractors who could be enticed by the local eight-mile (13 km) long rocket range, the vast array of underground storage bunkers, highly specialized building infrastructure, low cost of labor and excellent railroad system. As part of the transfer agreement, the Brown Foundation also donated of land and six buildings to establish a two year technical college now known as Southern Arkansas University Tech.
East Camden's economy remains heavily dependent on the nearby ordnance factories where, among other items, the MLRS weapon system is manufactured. Lockheed-Martin, Loral Vaught Systems, Atlantic Research Corporation, Aerojet, BEI Defense Systems Company, Tracor Aerospace, Hughes Missile Systems, National Testing Service, Olin Industries, Camden Ordnance, Hitech Incorporated, and Austin Powder are among the list of Defense Department contractors occupying East Camden's Highland Industrial Park.