FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Rocco, senior noncommissioned officer of the Readiness Directorate, Installation Management Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, visited Fort Riley March 22 for a full day of tours and meetings.

The visit was hosted by leaders from the Fort Riley Garrison.

Rocco's meetings included time with Deputy Garrison Commander Tim Livsey and Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins, senior non-commissioned officer of Fort Riley garrison. Collins also escorted Rocco on his tours.

According to the itinerary provided by garrison operations, the intent of Rocco's visit was to enhance his understanding of Fort Riley's ability to train Soldiers collectively from the level of small units up to and including the brigade level, training that focuses on not just the 1st Infantry Division, but also visiting units across other military branches, Army Reserve and National Guard.

The visit comes during a time of transformation within IMCOM in terms of both its organization and the way it supports garrisons.

The trend of declining resources over recent years has led IMCOM leadership to go beyond merely asking for more money. According to an article published both in the January-February-March 2017 edition of IMCOM's Public Works Digest and reprinted Jan. 24 by the official U.S. Army website, "Army leaders must find alternative solutions beyond asking for more money and additional manpower when confronted with a problem."

In November 2016, the article said, IMCOM transformed its regions within the continental United States into three functionally aligned and co-located Installation Management Command Directorates: IMCOM-Sustainment with Army Materiel Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; IMCOM-Training with Training and Doctrine Command at Joint Base Eustis-Langley, Virginia; and IMCOM-Readiness with Forces Command (FORSCOM) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Fort Riley is part of the IMCOM-Readiness directorate, which lead to Rocco's visit.
The result, Col. John Lawrence, garrison commander of Fort Riley, said, is that IMCOM directorate leadership can address similar challenges encountered by FORSCOM installations.

"With all installations FORSCOM assets under one umbrella it allows the Readiness staff to focus on similar problems that we all experience thus increasing the response time for a solution across the Garrisons and focuses the Readiness staff in certain areas," Lawrence said. "This immediate response in turn creates trust in our higher headquarters."

Livsey concurs. The IMCOM restructuring allows for similar missions, problems and solutions, he said.

"We all have common missions, goals and the units we support are those operational forces that deploy," Livsey said. "That means the problem-set and solutions and the good ideas are now common to those installations under (the Readiness directorate)."
Meeting the challenges caused by leaner budgets and resources is not new for Fort Riley, Lawrence adds, but the restructuring at IMCOM and the change in how it does business will help.

"Lean budgets and the need to become more efficient is not a new challenge," Lawrence said. "We have done this before. The challenge is how you lead through change, manage expectations and ensure you are transparent with the workforce. Honest, candid discussions are critical. Change is always difficult but the leadership, both military and civilian, are up to the task and continue to develop unique and more efficient ways of reaching mission success while keeping the workforce informed."

Ultimately, this new way of doing business will allow Fort Riley to provide services to Soldiers and their families in any fiscal environment while maintaining a stable workplace, even as Soldiers and families wrestle a deploy-rest-train-deploy cycle for an Army that is shrinking in numbers, Livsey said.

"The OP-TEMPO (operations tempo) in the Army has changed dramatically over the last eight years because we've lost maneuver brigades," Livsey said. "So what that's meant is that Soldiers come back, they get a little rest, then go into an intense training cycle, then deploy again. So it's a constant churn for these Soldiers and families. They have been bearing the burden of these reductions in the military for the past eight years, and my hat's off to them."

Grouping similar installations according to function and mission leads to a better appreciation of requirements and challenges in garrisons like Fort Riley on the part of IMCOM, Lawrence said. This can only lead to more efficient practices for delivering services.

"Anytime we can highlight what our employees are doing on a daily basis to our higher headquarters is a good thing," Lawrence said of Rocco's visit. "Through visiting and talking with the leadership and our DA (Department of the Army) civilians, our Readiness senior leadership is able to have a better understanding of the mission at the lowest level. This in turn leads to overall best practices being shared across installations, open dialogue where otherwise (it) would not be available, and also a morale boost to our employees."