By Ms. Catherine Caruso (IMCOM)April 13, 2016
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, California -- During a visit to Presidio of Monterey, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl said garrison challenges won't be solved with more money or more people, and that he'll press for changes to Army policies that better align Installation Management Command's mission with fiscal and strategic realities.
Dahl, commanding general of Installation Management Command, and IMCOM Command Sgt. Major Jeffrey Hartless visited the Presidio of Monterey April 6 and 7, part of a "boots on the ground" tour to get a first-hand look at issues affecting Army garrisons.
Garrison officials briefed the IMCOM leaders on how Army-wide programs like privatized management of family housing (Residential Communities Initiative) are implemented locally, and how local initiatives provide improved services and cost savings.
Dahl is the first IMCOM CG who isn't dual-hatted as the Assistant Chief of Staff of the Army for Installation Management. He serves fulltime at IMCOM headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, while the previous IMCOM CG, Lt. Gen David Halverson, stayed on as the ACSIM in Washington D.C.
Because he is in the HQ every day, IMCOM culture is not the way it was, he stated, and he intends to capitalize on opportunities for improvement and change in garrison operations.
"Lt. Gen. Dahl brings a big emphasis on leadership, telling us leaders need to be leaders, not managers," said Hugh Hardin, deputy to the Presidio of Monterey garrison commander. "He expects garrisons to allow leaders to actually lead their organizations and develop their subordinates, which means we find things to take off of leaders' plates to give them the time to do so."
Dahl said he has "a very strong appetite" to push for policy changes.
"I don't need more money and I don't need more people. I need to change policies," he said.
Programs get put in place for good reasons, he said, but the Army needs to re-evaluate them over time.
One area the Army is taking a hard look at is phasing-out single occupancy rooms in barracks, Dahl said.
Reducing costs is one reason. Barracks with private rooms cost more to build, maintain, and operate than more traditional dorm-style barracks. Meanwhile, barracks renovated to the current "1+1 standard" (private rooms with shared kitchenette and living areas) house fewer troops, further increasing overall costs by requiring the Army build more barracks or move those personnel off-post.
But Dahl said there are reasons besides cost to consider returning to higher-density living arrangements in Army barracks.
"When people aren't spending time with each other, breaking bread together, it affects teambuilding. It erodes the culture," Dahl said.
Improving health and resiliency in the force is also his motive for pushing dining facilities and AAFES food operations to offer healthier dining options.
During a visit to the Delta and Foxtrot Co., 229th Military Intelligence Bn. barracks, Dahl asked Soldiers about the quality of meals at their dining facilities.
He said data from programs like the Presidio of Monterey's Performance Triad pilot are critical in helping convince logistics meal planners and AAFES officials that healthy eating isn't just important to Army leaders, it's something that service members want.
IMCOM's command team also visited the Presidio of Monterey Services Administration, a public agency which contracted to provide maintenance support to the Directorate of Public Works.
Agency employees highlighted several cost-saving measures they initiated that have produced measurable cost savings to the Presidio of Monterey.
"It's a really great thing you have going here," Dahl said. "I'm not sure it would work everywhere. But what you have here is really special," Dahl said.
In his visits to installations, the CG sees a dichotomy in there being a standard level of service, a standard garrison organization, in 75 unique organizations.
"What does that tell you? It's not a perfect match. It has to be tailored at every organization to meet the conditions, the environment, that you have," Dahl said. "That cannot be done at headquarters. It has to be done by you."