Reports from AUSA Installations Symposium 


Chief: Money to be there for installations

As the Army budget has increased over the past few years, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, called upon installation management leaders to take a closer look at their own budgets and how those dollars can best be used to support soldiers and civilians and their families.

                           The Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen George W. Casey with Gen Gordon R. Sullivan, USA Ret.,
                           above, visited the Association of the United States Army's 2010 Army Installations Symposium &
                           Exposition in San Antonio, Texas, March 29, 2010. The symposium is being held in conjunction
                          with the Army's Installation Management Command campaign plan rollout conference.

            “I’m going to make sure you have the money,” Casey said.  “You need to figure out how to use it as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

            Speaking March 29 at the opening session of the Association of the United States Army’s Installations Symposium and Exposition in San Antonio, Casey said getting the most value for the money is critical for the long-term plan for the Army.

            “If we can’t figure out how to spend money more effectively, it will disassemble the Army we’ve tried to assemble over the past seven years,” he said.

            The chief said the Army will publish rotational cycles within the next 60 days for 2011, 2012 and 2013, and that will mark a “fundamental change” for installations to support soldiers, civilians and families.  Installations were set up to support a garrison model and have been making incremental changes under the Army Force Generation model, but it hasn’t been enough.

            The rotational cycles will call for one year deployed and two years (1:2) at home for the active Army, and one year deployed and four years (1:4) at home for reserve components, Casey said.  Ideally, a cycle of 1:3 for active duty and 1:5 for the guard and reserve is “necessary for the long haul, but we got to get [to 1:2 and 1:4] first.”

            Casey said that time at home is the most important thing to restoring balance in the Army. 

            Not only do soldiers get to spend time with their families, but that time is also critical for soldiers to recover themselves.  A soldier needs two to three years to recover from one year of deployment in combat.

            The Army is projected to reach many of its manpower and deployment goals by 2011, but Casey is also keeping the eye toward the future and “what a 21st century Army should look like.”  The lessons of the past eight-plus years from Iraq and Afghanistan should serve as a guide for the Army to “refine, not adapt” its forces and infrastructure.

Installation leaders urged to be creative, cost conscious

           The time is now to be creative, innovative and cost  conscious, Joseph W. Westphal, under secretary of the Army, told attendees March 29 at the Association of the United States Army’s Installations Symposium and Exposition.

            Echoing remarks from Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, earlier in the day, Westphal told installation management leaders that they shouldn’t look at this as cutting costs. They should be economizing so they can maintain the programs to support soldiers, civilians and families.

            Westphal said “the best time is now” to be creative, innovative and cost conscience.  Investing in people should continue to be a top priority and increasing the quality of life for soldiers, civilians and families.  Technology should also be explored to change and adapt to ne business models.

            Westphal also encouraged attendees to share their vision to those outside the Army, to include taxpayers as well as leaders on Capitol Hill.

            “Your leadership will shape the capacity of our Army for generations to come,” he said.

Major Army energy initiatives

            Jerry Hansen, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for strategic infrastructure, o outlined a handful of major Army energy initiatives.

            Electric/hybrid vehicles.  502 hybrid vehicles have been ordered, as well as 400 low-speed electric vehicles.

            Construction of a 30 megawatt geothermal power plant at Hawthorne Army Depot, Nev.  This would benefit not only Hawthorne but also the local area.

            Develop 500 megawatt solar thermal energy plant at Fort Irwin, Calif.  A public/private partnership, this would provide a $20.8 cost reduction over 25 years.  The partnership means the developer as well as the whole region will benefit.  While the facility won’t be completed until 2022, stages will come online progressively until that time.

            Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum fire station at Fort Bragg, N.C.  This will be the first LEED facility in the federal government and provide a reduction of 45 percent energy and 83 percent water consumption, as well as improving air quality and reducing environmental impact.

            LEED Gold brigade combat team headquarters at Fort Carson, Colo.  This facility will be constructed to maximize daylight, and its projected to decrease energy use by 31 percent and water use by 56 percent.

            Net Zero at Fort Bliss, Texas.  The goal is to produce as much energy on site that is consumed.  Water ranging from 170 to 190 degrees was also discovered underground, and officials hope to exploit that for geothermal heating.

            Fort Knox, Ky.  The post has a number of energy projects under way including ground-coupled heat pumps, which alleviates use of natural gas as well as reducing costs and emissions.  Renewable methane gas is also being collected from wells on post to provide another energy source.

FORSCOM commander outlines challenges to installation leaders

            As the Army completes its shift from a division-centric force to a brigade-centric, modular force, installation leadership must be able to meet the challenges of regenerating, resetting and training operational forces, according to Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command.

            Speaking March 30 at AUSA’s Installations Symposium and Exposition, Campbell outlined the Army’s journey into what he called “the new norm” under the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) concept.  Not only are active units cycling through installations as they prepare for deployment, but the role of the Army’s reserve components has increased – 90,000 alone were mobilized last year – as they, too, find their way into Army mobilization training centers.

            Because of the unpredictability throughout the world, installations will have an ebb and flow in relation to capacity, Campbell said.  While the Army has a plan for deployment cycles, there are still operations that can’t be forecast, such as recent relief operations in Haiti.

            “We could manage [the ebb and flow] if we could control the demand, but we can’t,” Campbell said.

            There has to be a partnership between senior commanders, garrison commanders and mission support elements to ensure troops and equipment are up to speed in the ARFORGEN cycle, Campbell said.

            He noted installation readiness challenges for the future, to include:

  • Being ready to absorb returning forces as well as equipment.
  • Determining senior commanders’ roles on a joint basis.
  • Environment of diminished resources and working with senior commanders on managing that environment.
  • Aligning common levels of support as it relates to ARFORGEN.

IMCOM commander calls for proactive leader development

“We’re not doing enough in leadership and workforce development,” said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM).  “We need proactive systems to develop leaders and the workforce.”

Speaking March 31 at AUSA’s Installations Symposium and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas, Lynch said to bolster leadership, he is looking at “operationalizing the installations management community” by allowing military and civilian leaders from the operations side “to join our ranks” and bring their experience to IMCOM. 

Likewise, IMCOM leaders would take positions within the operational force where they can eventually bring that experience back to IMCOM.

“We can develop ourselves,” Lynch said.

John B. Nerger, IMCOM’s executive director, said for garrison commanders, they shouldn’t re-think their approach to developing civilian leaders.  Many of those garrison commanders will have civilians under them for the first time, and the principles to develop competent, agile and adaptive soldiers works on civilians.

“Stick to basics,” Nerger said.  “Give them a sense of mission and life-long learning.”

Nerger made a parallel to his childhood job as a paperboy where he was immediately instilled with the value of bringing information to community members instead of simply just delivering newspapers.  Likewise, new civilian workers should know their expectations and the importance of their mission within the Army family.

“We do that too much – we don’t recognize the power of assimilating people into an organization,” Nerger said.

People who have had the same job for multiple years should also be encouraged to move within the workforce and train into other job opportunities, he said.

IMCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Neil L. Ciotola told attendees to explore the value of courses and conferences that can be used to stimulate leader development.  Information and knowledge gathered by leaders has a trickle-down effect throughout an organization.

“The more we can share and pass on, the better it makes the institution,” Ciotola said.

Preston: Rebalancing the Army – taking care of soldiers, families, civilians

            Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston told installations management leaders that rebalancing the Army “reflects back to each of you – your role to take care of soldiers, families and civilians.”

            The U.S. Army Installations Management Command (IMCOM) is “very much part of sustaining the all-volunteer force,” Preston told attendees April 1 at AUSA’s Installations Symposium and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.  “It really comes down to quality of life for soldiers, families and civilians,” he said.

            As the Army grows and strives for more dwell time at home for soldiers, it creates a “double-edged sword” for IMCOM because the command is being relied on more to provide support and services, Preston said. 

            The goal for active duty units is a ratio of 1:2 – for every one year deployed, soldiers will have two years at home. 

            For many Army units, that ratio had been 15 months deployed with only a year at home, Preston said.  Demand exceeded the Army’s capabilities causing a stress on soldiers as well as families, and this is still “my number one concern.”

            Ideally, the active Army will reach a ratio of 1:3, Preston said.  This time at home, coupled with the drawdown in Iraq, will demand more from IMCOM’s support as well as increasing use of training land and ranges.

            Preston said that the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan won’t solely impact the future demand of Army forces, whether active duty or reserve components. 

            The fall of the Iron Curtain marked a trend of borders breaking down or blurring throughout the world, blending societies and cultures. 

            Competition for oil, food and water – “the necessities of life” – have caused people to migrate across borders, he said.  This has led terrorist organizations and failed or failing states to attempt to seek weapons of mass destruction and other means for control.

            Because of this instability, there’s no way to predict the next hot spot, and Preston told attendees to keep this in mind as they look at ways to improve support and services. 

            The secretary of defense has identified land forces as having an essential role in full spectrum operations.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program prepares soldiers for physical, psychological challenges

           Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston outlined his focus on the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program (CSF) for attendees of AUSA’s Installations Symposium and Exposition.

            Like physical training, where keeping track of times and repetitions has helped soldiers identify strengths and weaknesses as they prepare for the rigors of combat, CSF will serve as a guide for soldiers to face physical as well as psychological challenges.

            The program will also be opened up for families and civilians.

            Preston has identified four pillars to shape the program:

  • Global Assessment Tool.  A personalized, confidential assessment available online.  It is being required to be completed by May 31, and there will be subsequent requirements for soldiers to take it annually and 80 to 120 days after deployment.  It will be taken by soldiers at basic training, and civilians and family members will be able to take it voluntarily.
  • Comprehensive Resilience Models.  Another online program, it will provide confidential means to strengthen and build resiliency.
  • Master Resiliency Trainer.  The “core of the CSF program,” one master resiliency trainer will be in each battalion to teach and develop CSF initiatives within their units.  It will be an additional duty.
  • Professional Military Education.  Resiliency training will be incorporated within all phases of PME.

 New model changes Army business practices

             The biggest obstacles facing transition to the new Army business model is that people within the Army are afraid to change their business practices or they think there will be a better time in the future to make changes, according to Lt. Gen. Robert E. Durbin, special assistant to the Army chief of staff for enterprise management.

            Speaking April 1 at AUSA’s Installations Symposium and Exposition in San Antonio, Texas, Durbin thinks some people “have the mindset that we are risk adverse” -- old processes can still be used or change can wait.     

            “I’ve seen you work miracles,” Durbin told installations management leaders in reference to using a business model designed to support a Cold War-era force and using that model during transformation into a modular Army. But the proper business policies, practices and procedures must be adapted now to support the Army Force Generation model.

            Durbin told attendees that it is essential for them to take an “introspective look” at their own business models. 

            While senior Army leadership has implemented an enterprise construct to review business practices, “real reform will come from folks like you” who have knowledge of day-to-day demands.

            The latest from the Army Office of Business Transformation can be found on its Web site,