Hamilton hosts Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region
January 23, 2012
FORT HAMILTON, N.Y. -- Garrison commanders, command sergeants major and principle staff from Joint Force Headquarters -- National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington gathered here Jan. 19 and 20 to conduct a commander's conference with MDW Commanding General Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Williams.
About 45 leaders from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Fort George G. Meade, Md., Fort Hamilton, N.Y., Fort Belvoir, Va., Fort A.P. Hill, Va., the U.S. Army Band, the 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and JFHQ-NCR traveled here after Fort Hamilton Garrison Commander Col. Michael Gould planted the seed with Linnington that they should gather here at some point to learn more about the post, its history and current mission.
"We're grateful to be part of MDW. Fort Hamilton is the (only secure) federal foot print in New York City," Gould said.
Fort Hamilton came into existence in 1825 after the War of 1812 when the country was aiming to protect New York Harbor from attack by enemy navies. At 120 acres and with approximately 350 garrison employees, the post may appear small and insignificant.
Just outside Fort Hamilton are 2.5 million people, and all five boroughs of New York City have 8.2 million people. There are 70,000 Department of Defense identification-card holders in the catchment area who use Fort Hamilton's post exchange and commissary benefits regularly. Fort Hamilton's PX and commissary do more business than any other in the region, Gould said.
"The reach of this garrison is phenomenal," Linnington said.
Gould joked that many people don't know what is done at Fort Hamilton.
There are 105 people working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division, which provides engineering, construction, project management and contracting services to plan, design, build, operate and maintain projects to support the military, protect America's water resources, and restore and enhance the environment through six district offices, located in Concord, Mass.; New York City; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Norfolk, Va.; and Wiesbaden, Germany.
The New York City Recruiting Battalion, the nation's second largest recruiting battalion with about 350 Soldiers and a civilian support staff, operates out of Fort Hamilton and processes about 16,000 applicants annually.
The Army Reserve, Army National Guard and Air National Guard have elements based at Fort Hamilton, including Joint Task Force -- Empire Shield of the New York National Guard, which provides homeland security and defense support to civilian authorities as needed.
There is a large Defense Intelligence Agency presence on Fort Hamilton, and the post has partnered with the FBI, secret service U.S. Marshals, Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement, counter terrorism and counterintelligence agencies to operate in a secure federal location, Gould said.
When Fort Hamilton signed its Army Community Covenant, Linnington said he expected a small turnout and a low-key ceremony, but he said there was a greater turnout than he expected with highly influential leaders in attendance.
"I was simply blown away by the seriousness by which the community takes their partnership with the post," Linnington said.
One way to leverage the community support for installation benefit is through a robust community outreach program, Linnington said. In a new anticipated environment, the Army will need to leverage local services that can benefit installations that see their resources shrinking, he said.
Leaders noted that their community outreach seems untapped at the mid-level leader.
"They are out there and they want to support," Gould said. "(New York City) is a target rich environment for telling the Army story," he said.
The conference attendees spent several hours reviewing and analyzing MDW's vision, mission and focus areas to see what adjustments need to be made in the new environment.
They also attended a dinner at Fraunces Tavern, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and said to be where Gen. George Washington gave his farewell address to the Continental Army. The following day, the group took a staff ride to learn about the Battle of Brooklyn and use lessons learned from that conflict in today's environment.
The group had lunch at View of the World in the World Center Hotel overlooking the 9/11 Memorial site where Fire Department New York City Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano and New York City Police Department Transit Bureau Chief Joseph Fox addressed the group about how their forces have adapted in a post-Sept. 11 environment.
The group toured the 9/11 Memorial before departing back to the National Capital Region or their home stations.