By Cherish Washington, AMCApril 4, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (April 4, 2013) -- Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general of Army Materiel Command, welcomed Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations Energy and Environment, to Redstone Arsenal, April 3.
Hammack visited Redstone Arsenal to discuss Army energy initiatives for Army Materiel Command, known as AMC, the installation, the Corps of Engineers' Huntsville center and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
"There are always a couple of goals first of all to stay in touch with what's going on and to get an update on certain programs, efforts, challenges, opportunities. It's always good to hear it from the people doing the work," Hammack said.
Hammack's visit at AMC focused on AMC's organic industrial base. The organic industrial base is a series of depots and arsenals under the direction of AMC headquarters responsible for providing many of the 'hard iron' aspects of war equipment such as: tanks, artillery, ammunition and aircraft.
For roughly two years, many in AMC have been looking at the quality work environment of the organic industrial bases, she explained.
"We are working to identify what we are doing right, what are best practices that can be shared to the others, where there some opportunities for improvement are, and how we can improve the quality of life for all employees -- whether they are direct employees for the federal government or they are indirect employees through our contractors," Hammack said.
Hammack reflected on Via's assertion that the organic industrial base is a national treasure.
"We couldn't provide the way we do without the tremendous efforts by many individuals at the ground level who are making the tools to make the Army as strong as it is today," Hammack said.
"Every time I visit one of the organic industrial bases, I thank everybody for their work in ensuring we can together fight the war on terrorism," Hammack said. "But as our Soldiers return home and we return to peacetime operations the organic industrial base is going to return to peacetime operations, as well."
Hammack stressed that it's a good thing that the nation returns to peacetime operations because it means Soldiers are returning home.
She explained that returning to a peacetime operations pace would mean, "We are not going to be making as many mortar rounds. We are not going to need as many bullets."
"As we return to peacetime operations that does mean that some people that helped us surge might not have jobs doing that anymore. They will return to peacetime operations where maybe they are doing something else and that doesn't mean we are going to lose the capacity to help fight the nation's next war," Hammack explained.
Hammack explained that the workforce in AMC supported the surge through overtime shifts.
"Working two, three, four shift operations is a wartime pace," she explained. "A peacetime pace is more of the single shift operations five days a week with no overtime."
AMC has a unique balancing act of surging to meet the needs of warfighter when necessary and being prepared for any contingency that may arise.
After a morning of briefings on AMC topics, Col. John Hamilton, Redstone Arsenal's installation commander, updated Hammack on energy efforts on post.
"The garrison update was really good because there are several initiatives on the way to invest in the base to try and make it more resilient," Hammack said.
Resiliency is normally a topic discussed in relation to Soldiers and families.
"Our installations need to be resilient as well. So they can be that shining outpost when power, energy and water goes down elsewhere. One of our missions is to serve this nation and the communities around us," she explained.
"We are looking as various efforts to improve energy security," Hammack said.
She reflected on the tornados impacted Redstone Arsenal leaving the installation without power or water for about a week.
"By investing in more resilient power and energy, renewable energy, waste to energy [initiatives], we can become more resilient as an installation," Hammack said.