XVIII Airborne Corps Shifts Focus

XVIII Airborne Corps Shifts Focus

Panel at AUSA Warfighter
Photo by: AUSA/Jared Lieberher

In a changing world, the XVIII Airborne Corps has expanded its focus on Army culture to improve installations, including housing and other facilities, reduce distractions and let soldiers concentrate on readiness.

During a panel discussion July 26 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s 2023 Warfighter Summit and Exposition in Fayetteville, North Carolina, involving Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue and Command Sgt. Maj. TJ Holland, the corps’ command team, the corps and its home of Fort Liberty are working on a wide range of initiatives to build a better living environment.

Donahue said Fort Liberty is undergoing a transformation that improves quality of life for soldiers and their families, both on the installation and in the surrounding community. This includes efforts to integrate airmen at nearby Pope Army Airfield into the community. “It is truly a joint team,” said Air Force Col. Andrew Black of the 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group.

The broad effort is data-driven, Donahue said, showing what changes can help and what programs are hurting. One thing he cited was the absence of a place on post where a family can sit down for a restaurant meal. That might be a small thing, but it plays a part in how people think of their community, he said.

Community expansion, with the help of both the on-post and off-post communities, is part of a wider effort to make certain soldiers can focus on their training and duties and give Army families a feeling of support, Donahue said. This has an immediate impact on readiness and a longer-term impact on impressions about military service that could improve future recruiting.

Many other Army installations are paying similar attention to quality-of-life issues, which have been challenged by right funding, restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic and slow planning.

This is important now and in the future, Donahue said. The Army needs to attract the right people by making the right decisions, he said, emphasizing the value of making data-driven decisions.

“As you look across the world, it is very apparent how we are going to fight is very different,” Donahue said. Differences, he noted, based on the fighting in Ukraine, include “you can be observed everywhere.”