Army Strong: Home of Sustainment Completes BRAC 2005
September 14, 2011
FORT LEE, Va. - The Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee have successfully completed their portion of the Army's largest institutional transformation ever - Base Realignment and Closure 2005.
The nation and the Army invested $1.2 billion constructing new facilities at Fort Lee to support the BRAC 2005 mandated consolidation and reduction effort, which were finished on time and on target.
"There are numerous ways to measure the return on this investment, but the most important is the quality of training provided the sons and daughters who serve their country," said Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, CASCOM and Sustainment Center of Excellence commanding general. "CASCOM serves as the pivot point for the Army's Sustainment Warfighting Function and the facilities at Fort Lee will provide better trained logistics Soldiers who are capable of the most demanding and technical missions."
As part of BRAC initiatives, the installation nearly doubled the size of its infrastructure from 7.5 million square feet to 14 million on just over 5,900 acres. This increase was necessary to support CASCOM's expanded training mission -- now about 70,000 students, from all five branches of the military, will receive training at the "Home of Sustainment."
"The effort completed what equates to a 25-year construction program in just five years, executing this immense $1.2 billion dollar effort approximately $100 million under projected costs," said William F. Moore, deputy to the CASCOM commanding general. In total, the entire Fort Lee BRAC construction effort brings 56 new buildings, four major renovations and numerous other training site improvements to the installation, which will serve the Army and the nation for decades to come.
BRAC 2005 was an historic undertaking for the Army as a whole, enabling its largest organizational transformation in over 60 years. Among other initiatives, BRAC supports the Army's reorganization effort to transform from a division-based, to a modular brigade-based force to allow it to perform as an integral part of the joint force.
The BRAC recommendation to consolidate Combat Service Support training and doctrine development at a single installation promotes training effectiveness and functional efficiencies.
Although most activities at Fort Lee are focused on the Army's institutional training mission, CASCOM's post-BRAC organization will be enhanced to better support the Army's overall transformation effort. More than 180 courses from four different places (Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Redstone Arsenal and Fort Lee) were consolidated and relocated at Forts Lee and A.P. Hill. This was the largest relocation of courses within Training and Doctrine Command. All of these course moves required the movement of training support systems, equipment, administrative support and students. For example, over 830 truckloads carrying almost 30 million pounds of equipment completed the journey to the new state-of-the-art training facilities at the Ordnance School.
In addition to better training for Soldiers, BRAC generated improved operating efficiencies and synchronization. For CASCOM, efficiencies will result from the following reductions: from four to two brigades; from 10 to seven battalions; from 50 to 33 companies/detachments; from four to one Warrior Training Area; from four to three schools; from 16 to 11 training departments; from four to one Noncommissioned Officer Academy; and from four professional military education institutions to one university.
BRAC 2005 facilitated the expansion of the Army Logistics Management College and advanced logistics Soldier training into the Army Logistics University. This provided the opportunity for more sustainment Soldiers, especially instructors, to attend functional courses. Previously, with schools geographically separated from ALU, attending training was more difficult and expensive. Funding and time were factors in whether or not an instructor was able to attend ALU courses. This opportunity for further education of instructors, subsequently improves instruction for the sustainment Soldiers they teach. A related cost benefit is realized with logistics officer training. In the past, officers received branch-specific training at their respective school locations and then they received their common logistics portion of their training at Fort Lee. The cost in terms of dollars and time to accomplish this movement to a second location during the same course was significant. Now, all of this training is accomplished in one location.
For Fort Lee, the past five years of BRAC construction marks the largest single period of expansion since World War II. It played a key role in supporting the Army's organizational restructuring efforts. Like Fort Lee, all across the country BRAC 2005 has provided the impetus to allow the Army to reshape the infrastructure to better support its forces.
The overarching BRAC 2005 goals are in concert with, and directly supported, the Army's transformation priorities.
For the CASCOM, BRAC facilitated the Army's institutional transformation by relocating training organizations onto fewer installations. This action enables greater force stability for Soldiers and overall system efficiencies by co-locating and integrating training and doctrine development for different branches (Quartermaster, Ordnance and Transportation Corps) into the Sustainment Center of Excellence. This consolidation creates an integrated center that fosters a new way of thinking about warfighting, and trains over 10,000 Soldiers, Marines, Airman, Sailors and Civilians daily.
Institutional transformation didn't end with just the Army at Fort Lee. The installation now supports and hosts multi-service institutions. These joint centers include the Joint Center for Consolidated Transportation Management Training, which incorporates the Air Force Transportation Management School, and the Joint Center of Excellence for Culinary Training, which expanded to include Airmen and Sailors training alongside the Soldiers and Marines already present. The consolidation of the Defense Commissary Agency and the arrival of the Defense Contract Management Agency at Fort Lee round out its new joint, multi-service look, and provides many enhanced opportunities for integration of Department of Defense sustainment support.
While enabling significant change and institutional improvements, BRAC recognizes the value of Army Civilians and seeks to retain their skills and contributions. CASCOM and Fort Lee's future success has been enhanced through the early and continuous efforts to facilitate and encourage Department of the Army Civilians to move to Fort Lee with their activities. In concert, there was an aggressive set of Army, local community and installation programs to assist personnel who relocated. Additionally, for those who made the move, BRAC offered opportunities for personal growth and the ability to shape and enhance their careers.
"Fortunately for CASCOM, a significant number chose to continue their dedicated service to the nation with CASCOM at Fort Lee," Moore said.
BRAC became the stimulus for Fort Lee to improve its already established excellent relations with its surrounding municipalities: the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George.
BRAC actions required engaging with community leaders, civic groups and citizens to keep them informed about the BRAC process and changes on post.
One of the impacts on the community was the doubling of the Fort Lee population (military, Civilian, contractors, and Family members) - from 22,096 in 2008 to 44,503 in 2011, Moore said.
The local communities, spearheaded by the Crater District Planning Commission, worked side-by-side with Fort Lee to plan for this unprecedented growth. The CDPC successfully applied for two DoD Office of Economic Adjustment grants to support their efforts in growth planning. The Municipal Planning Organization worked to get several road projects approved and funded by the state of Virginia. These include a project at Hickory Hill Road and Route 460 outside the Mahone Avenue Gate and the intersection of Temple Avenue with Route 36 outside the Sisisky Gate.
The economic projections by the Virginia Employment Commission indicate that Fort Lee's contributions to the local economy will increase from $860 million in 2003 to $1.7 billion in 2013. Additionally, 65 percent of the 38 major BRAC construction contracts - valued collectively at $1.2 billion - were awarded to companies in Virginia.
"Completing CASCOM and Fort Lee's BRAC 2005 mission affects more than just the installation, and takes more than just planning," Hodge said. "The impact on the community resources and assets that this kind of transformation involves requires stewardship and cooperative partnerships with local community leaders."
Full BRAC 2005 implementation affected many local communities; and Fort Lee's BRAC efforts included working closely with community partners.
As good stewards, the Army has always considered the communities around Fort Lee as neighbors, Moore said. "During BRAC, we sought to extend the relationship into partnerships. Partnering with the communities was always a cornerstone element of Fort Lee's BRAC plan, and is an aspect of the effort that we can all look back on as one of our greatest successes. This cooperative spirit is what makes Fort Lee and the surrounding communities such a great place to live and work."
"I would always say 'BRAC is not a destination; it is a journey - and we are building relationships along the way," said Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham, Quartermaster School commandant and former U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee commander. "The great news is that those relationships have endured, multiplied, matured and promise to be the 'glue' to sustained camaraderie and prosperity within our region for many, many years to come."
BRAC 2005 is important to the Army for many reasons - most of all, it brings enhanced capabilities, infrastructure and systems to improve and sustain the Army into the 21st century.
"CASCOM and Fort Lee are proud of what we have accomplished, especially because the effort was truly a partnership with the local communities," Hodge said. "We have contributed to making the Army a stronger and more viable institution, which remains the strength of the nation."
In recognition of the closure of the BRAC transformation, two ceremonies will be held Sept. 15. DCMA will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new headquarters at 10 a.m., and the Ordnance School will hold a ribbon cutting and memorialization ceremony for multiple training facilities at 4 p.m.