Assistant Secretary Visits Fort Des Moines
October 5, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa- The Hon. Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, visited Fort Des Moines on Oct. 3.
Hammack made the stop during her Iowa trip to see a local Army Reserve Center and learn more about the capabilities and challenges the Army Reserve faces in updating its facilities and in energy conservation.
"Dependence on fossil fuels and a vulnerable electric power grid jeopardize the security of Army operating bases and mission capabilities. The impact of increasing energy prices is a decrease in the quantity and quality of training the Army can conduct, rather it is on our Reserve Installations, at National Guard training sites, or on our installations. Initiatives such as solar power, storm water management and water efficiency are positive steps toward addressing the challenges of energy security in the operational and garrison environments. Innovative and adaptive leaders, seeking ways to increase energy efficiency and implement renewable and alternate sources of energy, are key to saving lives and increasing the Army's flexibility by reducing costs," said Hammack.
The 88th Regional Support Command (RSC), which is located at Fort McCoy, Wis., and oversees facilities across a 19-state region, including Fort Des Moines. Members of the 88th RSC Directorate of Public Works staff, Lt. Col. Ralph Thorn, Chief of Plans, and Scott Naeseth, Certified Energy Manager, provided Hammack with an overview and tour of the command's initiatives and projects on the complex. Those initiatives included upgrades to mechanical systems and controls, a recently renovated arms room, and the rooftop, which was replaced as part of the National Roofing Initiative (NRI).
Hammack also met with Army Reserve leadership, including Brig. Gen. Arlan DeBlieck, Commanding General, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The 103rd ESC headquarters is one of five Army Reserve tenet units located in the Reserve Center. "We are appreciative of the 88th RSC's energy initiatives and renovations to our headquarters building. The facility upgrades have greatly improved the work environment for our Soldiers and civilian employees as well as enhanced the ability to conduct our mission," said DeBlieck.
The 402nd Engineer Company (Sapper) is another tenet unit in the Reserve Center. Capt. Nicholas Sinclair, Commander of the 402nd, spoke with Hammack about the unit's upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. The 402nd is also scheduled to move upon their return as construction is currently under way for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rated facility on Fort Des Moines as part of the Grow the Army (GTA) program. "We are looking forward to training in the state-of-the-art facility once we get home," said Sinclair.
The construction project and updates to existing buildings are part of the Army's overall plan to reduce energy dependency, increase efficiency and adopt renewable and alternative sources to remain operationally relevant.
"One of the top priorities of the Army is to ensure all installations, to include Army Reserve and National Guard centers, reduce their energy consumption and use renewable energy resources. Today's visit gave me the opportunity to see first-hand the efforts of the 88th Regional Support Command to create more resilient Army Reserve Centers in Iowa and the rest of their 19-state region," said Hammack.