Army to Improve Installation Management, Security

Army to Improve Installation Management, Security

General Gustave Perna leads the ILW Forum panel discussion on Installation Readiness at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 15, 2019.
Photo by: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for AUSA

Those who manage the Army’s installations must move quickly to close gaps in vulnerability, modernize management practices and facilities, and automate where possible, said a panel of experts at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.

In remarks before the panel discussion titled “Synchronizing Installation Readiness and Sustainment from the Strategic Support Area to the Tactical Point of Need,” Gen. Gus Perna, commanding general of U.S. Army Materiel Command, posited that adversaries are wary of fighting U.S. soldiers in battle “because they know they’re not going to win.” Instead, he said, they could potentially attack at home to keep the Army from ever leaving in the first place.

In the Multi-Domain Operations concept, Perna said, Army installations are identified as “strategic support areas” that need to be ready to project power.

“The [Army leadership] priorities are clear: be ready tactically, increase our readiness strategically, modernize our equipment and the way we do business, the way we run our installations, and constantly reform ourselves as we move from the industrial age into the information age,” Perna said

Army Materiel Command in the past year absorbed responsibility for Army Installation and Management Command. “This will take leadership and effort at all levels to be successful,” he said.

The logistics of “playing a home game and an away game” cannot be ignored, nor can the Army’s organic industrial base that supplies weapons and ammunition, said Alan Estevez, former principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

“Ignoring logistics impacts families, soldiers, retention and end-game readiness,” Estevez said.

To stay ready, the Army must first ensure adequate funding and put the best people in the job as mayor of an installation.

Best installation management practices should be shared with other posts; services shared with neighboring communities; barracks and other quality-of-life facilities modernized; predictive maintenance employed; and, lifestyle choices identified that could help soldiers and their families stay on post.

Estevez cautioned that “contracts are commanders’ business,” and to ignore a signed contract without following up could lead to “the debacle” that resulted in poor management of the privatized housing initiatives.

- Gina Cavallaro for AUSA