The Army vice chief of staff, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, said that the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) is "setting the standard" when it comes to reducing inefficiencies.
Chiarelli, speaking at the Association of the United States Army Institute for Land Warfare Installations Symposium and Exposition April 21 in San Antonio, discussed projected budget realities, the reduction of the civilian workforce and soldier quality-of-life issues – suicide, alcohol and substance abuse and sexual harassment and assault.
Chiarelli thanked the IMCOM workforce for caring for soldiers, families and the Army’s infrastructure while pursuing fiscal sustainability.
Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, IMCOM commanding general, has cut its region offices from seven to six, which will further be reduced to four.
When the command moved its headquarters from Crystal City, Va., to San Antonio, Lynch reduced contractor positions from 543 to 0, to save the command manpower costs.
"I recognize it hasn’t been easy, but IMCOM led by example and showed that with a little planning, you can save a lot," Chiarelli said. "You’ve accepted the mission and we couldn’t have done it all without you."
Chiarelli stressed the need to continue providing the best care for soldiers and families while eliminating inefficiencies, and asked for the workforce’s help in pointing out redundancies.
"I’m the guy who gets paid to worry about these things," Chiarelli said.
Adding, "It’s an overused cliché, but the reality is as we prepare to enter the second decade of war, we must find ways to do more with less. We’re doing everything possible to resist what I call ‘salami slicing’ – cutting 10 percent of the workforce, which results in broken programs."
He pointed out one program that is seeking reinforcements, the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program (ASAP).
ASAP has hired 380 counselors since the start of its hiring initiative earlier this year, nearing its goal of 500.
Chiarelli also highlighted the Army’s progress in treating traumatic brain injuries and mental health problems, but acknowledged there was still much work to be done in these areas, especially suicide.
"Suicide is a symptom of a bigger problem," he said. "It is rarely based on a single factor, but from work, health, finance and relationship problems. Helping them requires a combined-arms effort."
Chiarelli said the next decade of war would bring challenges, but remained confident that the Army would rise to tackle them.
"There is nothing I have seen that we can’t work our way through," he said.