By Ms. Marie Berberea (TRADOC)July 3, 2014
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Lt. Gen. David Halverson and Honorable Katherine Hammack visited Fort Sill June 27 to let Fort Sill Garrison employees know how to help the Army in its time of transition.
They also viewed how the post was handling a highly discussed humanitarian mission.
Halverson, former Fort Sill commanding general and now the assistant chief of staff for Installation Management and IMCOM commanding general, returned for his first joint visit with Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.
"When I told General Halverson I wanted to go see an installation, this is the first one that came to mind. In his mind, it's the best-run, best-manned installation in the Army. I will tell you right now you're in the crosshairs because there's a lot of talk going on about Fort Sill. Fort Sill has stood up to a mission that no other installation in the Army has," said Hammack.
As one of eight Army civilians who answers to the president, Hammack said it is important to see how Fort Sill is standing up the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program temporary shelter.
"Humanitarian assistance is one of the missions of the Army. This is a good mission to have here and it's a good use of an underutilized structure that was available," said Hammack.
Col. Glenn Waters, Fort Sill garrison commander, said just like any other event that has graced Fort Sill, its workforce handles it and moves on.
Halverson shared the sentiment.
"We had that great ice storm here, do you remember that? And you all were professionals and even left your homes to make sure the post was running. You are committed to your jobs and your professions. That attitude is what we want to sustain here."
Halverson said his focus is mission first, people always. He said the Army is a human business and communication is important, and even more so, is communicating effectively.
"What we need is good dialogue of what the real factors are so we can make good decisions. That's what Ms. Hammack and I really appreciate to make sure we got the issues framed right so we can have a discussion," said Halverson. "Coordinate, anticipate and verify. I'm saying verify so when you put something in, like your installation report, Ms. Hammack and I use that and defend it. If all of a sudden you say, 'Well we got that wrong,' it's hard for us to go back to Congress and say, 'We meant to say this.'"
"Our board of directors is Congress. They also ask questions that have short suspense and that we are required to answer. Otherwise, we might not get the funding for the next year, or support that we need for critical programs," said Hammack.
Halverson said as the Army draws down its force, IMCOM employees need to develop their workforce for the Army of 2025.
"Leader development comes from three things: education, training and broadening experiences. It's like anything else, if you don't have calluses on your hands you're probably not doing what you're supposed to do. We need that experience to get back to that model," said Halverson. "Guess what I've learned in 35 years of being in the military? Good leadership means a lot. Every Soldier, every (Department of the Army) civilian needs a good leader. You can't outsource that. I need that investment."
IMCOM is offering opportunities for workers to temporarily fill positions at other posts to gain that depth through a program called Developmental Assignment Program.
"We're still a nation at war. So when people ask, 'What do we have to do?' We still have to have people trained and ready," said Halverson.
The general pulled out a dollar to demonstrate the dynamics of the Army budget. He said it is difficult to divide the Army's money toward salaries and other things while sustaining facilities, training and modernization of the force.
"Manpower, human capital, utility rates - those things are fixed costs. So we can work on our water, our electric, all these initiatives to be more efficient and guess what? That's then more money we can put into other programs."
Hammack said the Army's energy bill was $3.8 billion last year and if not properly managed it will drive up the cost for the federal government.
"Following energy is water concerns. You guys have seen drought here. Last summer 67 percent of the United States was in drought conditions. If we do not have water, we cannot support and defend the Constitution of the United States in the way this nation wants us to. So water security is extremely important so that we can continue to operate."
Halverson said garrison workers should continue to help one another and also remember to provide great customer service to Soldiers and families. He said they should be proud that the Army puts more money toward support programs than any other DoD service.
"Like the boss said it's 79,000 DA civilians and (Non-Appropriated Funds) folks who take care of the families when our Soldiers are gone; take care of the Soldiers when they return," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Hartless, IMCOM CSM. "Thank you for what you do. No other command touches every Soldier, every family, every day. And you do."