Perhaps greater than anywhere else, Base Realignment and Closure 2005 impacted San Antonio by creating a Joint Base in the city and relocating several organizations there, including the Installation Management Command.
Six years, six major projects, 21,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in construction costs later, the BRAC deadline -- and San Antonio's successful execution of the BRAC mission -- was marked by a press conference Sept. 14 at the Roadrunner Community Center on Fort Sam Houston.
And the Installation Management Community is happy to be here, IMCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola said at the conference.
Sept. 15 marks the deadline for BRAC 2005, which Congress mandated to consolidate efforts and increase efficiencies throughout the Department of Defense. BRAC 2005 moved IMCOM Headquarters and the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command from Virginia to San Antonio. IMCOM's Army Environmental Command moved from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. to Fort Sam Houston in May 2010. FMWRC was subsequently inactivated and merged into the headquarters as G9. IMCOM's Northwest and Southwest Regions also merged into today's Central Region at Fort Sam Houston.
IMCOM's consolidated campus officially opened Aug. 19, 2011. The headquarters, which oversees the operation and management of 83 Army garrisons, installations and family programs worldwide with an operating budget of over $13 billion, brought more than 1,000 employees to San Antonio.
"They call this place Military City, U.S.A., and for good reason," he said. "You have been already stalwart neighbors and brothers and sisters of ours and we reap a windfall every day. We have been treated like royalty on this joint base since we've been here by every officer, noncommissioned officer Soldier and airman...it takes a village, and it really has been a village effort."
Being a good neighbor in return means conserving precious resources, said Ciotola. IMCOM's new campus earned Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, or LEED Silver eligibility from the U.S. Council of Green Buildings for its ultra-efficient design features. Energy use is reduced by 24 percent through energy-efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning, mechanical and systems and higher ambient light. Low-flow toilets and sinks, a 15,000-gallon underground cistern that collects rainwater and Texas-native plants help decrease water use by 50 percent.
Carpets are made from recycled or local materials. The roof and concrete surrounding the building have a high Solar Reflective Index to mitigate the "heat island" effect.
But with an eye for the environment, IMCOM also remembers the past. The outlying buildings of the IMCOM campus are restored 1920s-era barracks that once housed Soldiers of the storied 9th Regiment. Construction crews preserved much of the historic design of the buildings, including archways and lampposts. If you listen carefully, Ciotola said, you can "hear" the stories of those who did America's bidding in the past.
Also speaking at the press conference were Brig. Gen. Robert Murdock, director of the City of San Antonio Office of Military Affairs; Mike Novak, founder of the contract construction company Novak Group, LLC; David Thomas, director of the San Antonio Joint Program Office with the Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District; and Clarence "Cem" Maxwell, deputy director of the SAJPO, which executed BRAC in San Antonio.
BRAC also moved all enlisted military medical training to San Antonio, which created the Military Education and Training Center and moved the inpatient function of the 59th Medical Wing, known as the Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base to the Brooke Army Medical Center on Fort Sam Houston, establishing the San Antonio Military Medical Center, or SAMMC.
Ciotola thanked the Army Corps of Engineers and JBSA leaders, including Brig. Gen. Theresa C. Carter, commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing; Maj. Gen. Byron C. Hepburn, commander of the 59th Medical Wing; Rear Adm. William Kiser, commandant of METC; and Maj. Gen. Ted Wong, commanding general of Southern Regional Medical Command and Brooke Army Medical Center, for providing a warm welcome.
"Our motto at Installation Management Command is simple: We are the Army's Home," Ciotola said. "We take great example in what you have afforded us and we promise to not only live up to the benchmark that you and your staff have set, and also the manner in which you have welcomed us as new neighbors, we want to make sure that propagates itself throughout the depth and breadth of the United States Army from this, the Army's Home."
All told, JBSA is comprised of Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, a training site located northwest of San Antonio. It manages a budget averaging $700 million and is the largest single DoD installation for support.
According to Maxwell, in addition to ongoing programs and construction, the 130,000 students -- and the proud parents of graduates -- who pass through San Antonio every year help drive the economic engine, too. The BRAC impact is estimated as a gain of $13.3 billion a year for the region.