FORT DEVENS, Mass. (May 18, 2016) -- Lt. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, commander of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, or IMCOM, visited the U.S. Army Garrison Natick and Fort Devens May 16-17.

While at Natick on May 16, Dahl went to the Doriot Climatic Chambers, heard about the Physical Demands Study, toured the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center's Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate and the USAG Natick logistics area.

On the following day, Dahl visited the training areas at nearby Fort Devens.

"I got a fresh perspective because I had been to Natick years ago, and I have been here to Devens years ago, as well," Dahl said. "Frankly, I walked away very impressed. I think I've seen an increase and a growth in the capacity and ability at both Natick and Devens."

Dahl pointed out that the work done at Natick is critical not only to the Army, but the entire joint force.

"Everything that I wear and use is tested at Natick," Dahl said. "All the Soldiers that we support … what they use and what they wear and all their capabilities are, in one way or another, touched by the … scientists and research experts and medical folks there at Natick. So it's critical."

Dahl said he was struck by how Natick works with the industry, academic, research and laboratory communities in Massachusetts.

"There is a synergistic effect between Natick being located where it is and having similar expertise right outside the installation," Dahl said. "Not a very large place, but, boy, they really punch way above their weight in terms of the impact that they're having on the Army."

He came away equally impressed with the Devens training areas.

"I mean, the ranges are very, very high quality," Dahl said. "Lots of capacity. It's obvious that they get quite a lot of use from military forces throughout New England, throughout the Northeast. And it's not just Army. It's also Marines and law enforcement professionals and other parts of the U.S. government."

According to Dahl, that makes Devens a success story.

"In today's environment, where we have constrained resources, the federal government really needs to come together and take advantage of our capabilities, rather than everybody having their own," Dahl said. "The taxpayer money that's being spent here at Devens is being spent very well, and we're getting a big return on every dollar spent because so much of it is contributing to the readiness and the capabilities of military forces but also other U.S. government agencies."

Dahl has made it known that infrastructure is his No. 1 priority as IMCOM commander.

"Without infrastructure, you're not going to have readiness, and the work that's being done down there at Natick is contributing to our readiness," Dahl said. "If we're going to recruit the young talent in America to come work for the federal government at Natick, then we need to be providing them with facilities that enable that work."

Though people often enter federal government to serve rather than make money, they should not be expected to work in substandard conditions, Dahl said.

"There (are) investments that need to be made at Natick, certainly, to improve the infrastructure and the facilities that they have there so we're not discouraging people from coming," he added.

Dahl said he wanted the workforces at Natick and Devens to know that he trusts them.

"I would like them to know that I recognize that, particularly with the civilians, they are part of the Army profession and that they're doing marvelous work, and it may not always be recognized," Dahl said. "I've had the opportunity over the last six months to visit 35 installations, and, boy, has it opened my eyes."

Because he spends so much time working with Army civilians, Dahl said he makes it a point to share their stories with Army leadership.

"I'm helping them to understand what a fabulous, professional, dedicated, loyal and trustworthy workforce that we have out there," Dahl said. "Serving others and serving with the population of people that you work with every day and the satisfaction that comes with that is compensation in itself. If you were working somewhere else, you might be making a little bit more money, but you would be lacking that compensation.

"That's why I'm still doing what I'm doing, and I think that's why many of you are still doing what you're doing. I think every once in a while it's worth reminding ourselves of that. I am proud to be part of the team."