AMC puts people, mission first in BRAC moves
January 20, 2011
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- When Base Realignment and Closure recommendations were announced in May of 2005, there were 24 different relocations and closure components that affected the Army Materiel Command. To execute this mission, the command moved forward, focusing on balancing its critical, world-wide, logistical support mission while ensuring its Soldiers, civilians and their families were prepared for a major reorganization - one that affected approximately 11,000 of its 70,000 people.
"To balance the mission and retain the institutional knowledge and skills of our people, we set out in 2005 to ensure we could keep as many people as possible, while accepting the fact that not everyone would make the transitions to the new duty assignments," said Kate Kelley, AMC BRAC Office chief. "We immediately arranged for temporary space at Redstone, Ala., to get as many folks on board in Alabama as early as possible."
Of the nearly 11,000 BRAC-affected AMC personnel, about 1,400 of these personnel are stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va.
"As we near the BRAC deadline of September 2011, executing the move and reorganization has almost become a non-event. This is due to all the hard work that has been done over the past few years to avoid any earth-shaking challenges at the end," Kelley said.
According to AMC, more than 700 spaces have already relocated to Redstone, and are filled with a combination of moves and new hires.
"Our commanding general has said from day one that the health and welfare of her work force and their families is a priority. That became part of our mission," said AMC Deputy Chief of Staff Col. Steve Shapiro. "At the same time, we had to ensure there were no interruptions or negative impacts on AMC's mission to support the force. And because of lots of hard work and planning, we've accomplished both missions, so far."
The Army Materiel Command's mission is to develop, deliver, and sustain materiel to ensure a dominant joint force for the U.S. and our allies. This mission is accomplished by personnel in 49 states and 150 countries worldwide.
AMC's subordinate command, the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, became the first flag-level command to complete a 2005 BRAC action, when it relocated from Belvoir to Redstone Arsenal, Ala., in 2009.
"At Belvoir, the AMC BRAC Office works with garrison leadership and backfilling incoming BRAC tenants to ensure a move that is as seamless as possible," said Kelley. "We've hosted planning and integration meetings to help create as little turbulence for our staff and the incoming staffs as possible."
"The good news is that we've had a great partnership with the Fort Belvoir deputy garrison commander for transformation and BRAC, Col. Mark Moffatt, and incoming organizations that are backfilling our building," Kelley said.
The AMC buildings have been and will be renovated and used to house personnel being relocated to Belvoir as part of BRAC. This group mainly consists of Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems, the only agency relocating to Belvoir from outside a 50-mile radius. The group is coming from Fort Monmouth, N.J.
"Having multiple, external, independent organizations cohabitating with both a four-star and two-star command has been a challenge. However, support from these commands, from Fort Belvoir, and the incoming agencies have enabled us to be successful," Kelley said. "While the mission is not complete, we can see a lot of light at the end of tunnel - mostly due to the integrated planning and execution of tasks we've all been doing for the past several years."
AMC was moved from Eisenhower Avenue in 2003 to Belvoir to provide better security for the command and its personnel after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"Since we arrived at Fort Belvoir and integrated our four-star level team here, we've had nothing but the best relationship with the post. We feel lucky not to be inside the D.C. beltway or in leased space. We've been integrally linked to a stellar Army post. That really embodies the experience we have at Fort Belvoir," said Kelley.
The BRAC legislation moving AMC's headquarters from Northern Virginia to Alabama does create some challenges for the command.
"Our commanding general and her staff can no longer jump in a government van and drive to the Pentagon or Capitol Hill for a meeting," explains Shapiro. "But, we have a great solution for helping how we do business with the military's leadership."
"We are going to leverage the technologies that we already use as a command to stay connected and communicate with warfighters and AMC personnel in the field worldwide," he said referring to video teleconference and telephone conference calls.
The command officially cases its colors at Belvoir in March and uncases them in June at Redstone.
"We are leaving a great military community on Fort Belvoir," Kelley said, "and we are excited about becoming a part of the Tennessee Valley that has already opened their arms and warmly welcomed us to their community."