By Ms. Adriane ElliotJuly 18, 2017
USASAC's New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, operation is getting a facelift.
After operating out of a WWII-era warehouse for 52 years, employees will move into a state-of-the-art, 61,000-square-feet building in early 2018.
USASAC negotiated with New Cumberland Army Depot to obtain building 81, the former Defense Logistics Agency headquarters. The building is undergoing extensive renovations to mirror the Redstone Arsenal-based USASAC headquarters.
"Maj. Gen. (Stephen) Farmen determined that the look and feel should be identical to walking into the Redstone building," USASAC G4 Director Mike Casciaro said. "We will have the same branding, signage, art on the wall, bulletin boards and maps as Redstone."
Casciaro is the command's senior representative at New Cumberland Army Depot where USASAC has 262 employees who focus primarily on the execution of foreign military sales cases. He said it is a significant upgrade for the organization, addressing longstanding logistics, professionalism and morale concerns.
The current one-story structure, building 54, has housed thousands of New Cumberland employees for more than half a century. It boasts few windows and has experienced relatively few refurbishments over the years.
"Despite our best efforts, the building never looks very professional," Casciaro said. "It's a huge open bay with lots of cubicles. It is a warehouse and it will always look like a warehouse."
Casciaro called the current location simply the wrong space for salesmanship.
"We bring high ranking, foreign delegates here. And we must convince other countries to build their armed forces' capacity, which 1.) allows the United States to achieve strategic objectives and 2.) allows the partner nation to reach their own goals in the regions," he said.
Casciaro said that was difficult in the old space, but feels confident that the newly renovated facility will "be the most professional work space on the depot, truly the Army's Face to the World."
USASAC budgeted $1 million for the renovation and move to building 81, but actual costs tallied $670,000, leaving room for additional improvements. Features of the new building include a gutted interior with modern layout, snack bar, new furniture and LED lighting, upgraded plumbing and drainage, new carpeting and paint, state of the art conference facilities, new wiring for telephones and the network and a great hall meeting space that can accommodate the entire workforce.
Another advantage is the relocation and possible expansion of the command's security assistance liaison officers. They will have their own building, mere feet from building 81, in close proximity to their country case managers. Casciaro explained that due to lack of space at New Cumberland, some of the foreign officers worked at Redstone Arsenal but will now join their counterparts in the new office space. He said chances are good that major partnering nations with more complex FMS cases will now send liaisons to New Cumberland.
"The employees are all pretty excited, and looking forward to being in a better work environment," he said.
Renovations are about 50 percent complete, but according to Casciaro, whenever they move, they will be ready.
"There will be no interruption in service," he said. "We have a plan to ensure the transition will not be noticeable to outside customers."