Knox's mission grows broader, deeper, wider
August 13, 2010
- The face of Fort Knox is changing with the impending departure of the Armor Center and School
- Combat units moving to Knox bring a global mission, responsibility to the installation
- Shifting culture change being reinforced by branding changes
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- Army Strong has been the Army's motto since 2006.
Strength Starts Here has been Fort Knox's motto since the official transfer of authority from the Armor Center to the Accessions Command.
The second motto fits nicely within the first, like those Russian dolls that nest within one another. That's no coincidence.
Army planners like John Myers, the deputy director of Accession's G-7, spend a great deal of time studying words, colors, graphics-all the things that advertising research tells us must fit together just like those Russian dolls if a consumer is to be convinced that a product is worthy of purchase or a concept warrants support.
The concept that Fort Knox citizens are being asked to understand and support is the cultural change from an armor-centric installation to one with the Accessions Command at the helm and the Human Resource Center of Excellence as the center of activity.
Most are clear that Fort Knox has transitioned from a two-star Training and Doctrine Command installation to a three-star, multifunctional, multifocused, multi-command with the Accessions Commander, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, taking the lead.
"Accession Command is not limited to just the activities in their new headquarters in the Maude Complex and Fort Knox," explained Col. Scott Cottrell, Accession's BRAC manager. "Accessions Command is spread out across the U.S., our territories, and overseas Army installations. Every recruiting station and ROTC campus in 50 states, Europe, and Asia belongs to Accessions Command."
Secondly, with that transition, Fort Knox assumes a larger mission due to the new units with past and future combat deployments like the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division; the 19th Engineers; 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary); the 100th Division; and the 84th Training Command, all of which have arrived or will as part of the BRAC-directed moves.
"(Accessions Command) represents the Army to the American people and to the world at large," said Christopher Kolakowski, the director of the General George Patton Museum. "Fort Knox has always been the 'Home of Armor' and it was very good at that, but now it's going to have a broader, deeper mission."
Thirdly, with those differences, an effort is being made to change the culture of Fort Knox from Home of Armor to a new team that encompasses all the units while still maintaining the armor legacy.
"Changing the culture doesn't mean we ignore the Armor Center," Col. Cottrell said. "We've been given very explicit guidance to ensure the legacy of armor is preserved."
There will always be tanks on Fort Knox, as well as remnants and reminders that the Armor Center was here for 70 years, but it won't be quite as pronounced once armor has moved to Fort Benning, Ga. where it will develop its own identity, he added.
"Some people outside the gate have the impression that we're going to become a sleepy little hollow with a big admin staff," Cottrell said. "Wrong! That's why Strength Starts Here is so perfect. Those teams that deploy won't deploy without us getting the people (recruited into the Army)."
The cultural changes may be internal, but many grow from and are reinforced by signage, names, and colors, Myers said. For example, one of the first encounters people have with Fort Knox occurs at Chaffee Gate where they must obtain a pass or stickers for their vehicles.
"It was called the Visitor Control Center," Myers said. "That sounded like visiting day at the state pen. It wasn't very inviting. We've changed it to the Visitor Welcome Center."
Those kinds of changes to help visitors feel welcome is just one of the steps the branding team has suggested.
"A lot of thought went into the theme and how it relates to the Army brand," Myers explained. "But (the strategy) will continue throughout the post to cultivate a tone and feel of Fort Knox that makes the outside community feel comfortable here. Even more, we want our civilians and our entire resident community to feel that they are part of the integrated Army strong team."