Russell Hall Speaks
January 16, 2009
This past fall, the U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal underwent a seamless, albeit major transition. Based primarily on workload and geographic considerations, the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) restructured their Regions by realigning a handful of Garrisons. As part of the realignment, the Detroit Arsenal transitioned from the West Region to the Northeast Region.
IMCOM manages Army Garrisons/Installations scattered around the globe. Those facilities are broken out geographically into seven areas, or regions. The regions are identified as the Northeast, West, Southeast, National Capital Region - District, Europe, Pacific, and Korea.
The realignment does not affect the Garrison's ability to provide the core base operation services that enable the continuation of normal business functions at the Detroit Arsenal. An overview of those critical services include Child, Youth & School Services, Army Community Service, police/fire/emergency services, DOIM computer services, and base maintenance and property management functions.
What did change are the hierarchical lines of authority and reporting. Instead of reporting to IMCOM's West Region headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Garrison now falls under the jurisdiction of the Northeast Region located at Fort Monroe, Virginia.
In conjunction with the realignment, Russell Hall, Director of the Northeast Region, visited the Detroit Arsenal for the first time for three days this last December. His itinerary included a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new Child Development Center, the retirement ceremony for Garrison Manager Robert Graves, and the Change of Responsibility Ceremony from Mr. Graves to the new Garrison Manager, Brenda Lee McCullough.
Despite a hectic schedule packed with meetings, tours, and ceremonies, Mr. Hall took time out to weigh in on a number of issues of importance. Some of the topics he addressed include the IMCOM transformation and its impact on Garrisons, initiatives that he plans to implement over the next several years and how these programs will affect the Detroit Arsenal, and his philosophy of management.
"The purpose of the IMCOM transformation is to create a leaner, more efficient headquarters structure, and as you can imagine, it represents a huge challenge to the entire IMCOM organization. As part of the transformation, IMCOM Headquarters is moving from Arlington, Virginia to San Antonio, Texas. The relocation will result in manpower reductions at the regions. Many of the jobs currently at the regions will also move to the new headquarters.
"The transformation will impact the Garrisons in a couple of different ways. In the short term, the logistics of shifting around so many employees will result in personnel turmoil that will make things difficult throughout all levels of IMCOM. But this will pass as people settle into their new roles. The other area of impact has to do with a much more efficient use of resources. It is my belief that resources will continue to be a great challenge into the foreseeable future. Because of the efficiencies created by the transformation, IMCOM will be in a much better position to take advantage of available assets in providing world class support to our Soldiers, Family Members, and Civilian employees at the Garrisons," Mr. Hall said.
On the subject of initiatives that he plans to implement and how these programs will affect operations at the Detroit Arsenal, Mr. Hall stated that "my top priority is to improve the services and Common Levels of Support to all of the Garrisons in the Northeast Region. In that regard, we need to capture the costs of running Garrisons and use that information to make our business model more efficient. It is critical that we focus on ensuring across the board uniformity and continuous improvement in the services that we provide to our customer base of Soldiers, Families, Civilian employees, and retirees," he said.
When it comes to a philosophy of management, Mr. Hall has some strong views. He stated that "I don't put much stock in a management philosophy. From my perspective, and I'm very passionate about this idea, you lead people and manage things. Leaders have vision and are able to motivate their people to accomplish things that they didn't think were possible. My philosophy of leadership is very simple. I try to provide the Garrison Managers with direction, focus, guidance, and give them the resources that they require. Once that is done, my job is to get out of their way and turn them loose to use their creativity and intelligence to accomplish the things that need to get done."
Along those lines, Mr. Hall believes that one of the hallmarks of a good leader is to leave a legacy of preparing a strong group of future leaders for succession purposes. "My greatest legacy is to help build a cadre of caring, capable leaders who efficiently run the base operations for the region. I want to instill in our workforce throughout the region how important their work is to the Civilian employees, and the Soldiers and their Families that we serve at our Garrisons/Installations. That's what I want as my leadership legacy - a region wide community of caring professionals," Mr. Hall iterated.
Echoing the sentiments that Mr. Hall made throughout his visit, the entire U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal community wishes Mr. Graves a healthy, happy, and prosperous retirement. He was an outstanding leader who leaves giant shoes to fill. Congratulations to Ms. McCullough for her promotion to Garrison Manager. She has a wealth of Garrison management experience, and will be a strong and innovative leader during this time of great change at the Detroit Arsenal.