WASHINGTON -- The Army chief of staff has selected U.S. Army Garrison Fort Rucker, Alabama, as the gold winner in the 2018 Army Communities of Excellence competition for Regular Army installations.

Taking top honors as the Army National Guard Gold winner is the Ohio National Guard.
The Army Reserve gold winner is the 81st Readiness Division, Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Army announced ACOE winners Feb. 13. The 2018 Army Communities of Excellence awards ceremony is scheduled May 18 in the Pentagon.

Also winning in the annual ACOE contest in the Regular Army installation category are USAG Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, silver; USAG Fort Stewart, Georgia, and USAG Daegu, South Korea, bronze; and USAG Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and USAG Fort Knox, Kentucky, honorable mention.

Winning silver for the Army National Guard is the South Carolina National Guard. The Georgia National Guard won bronze. Receiving honorable mention is the Vermont National Guard.

The 1st Mission Support Command, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, is the silver winner in the Army Reserve category.

Fort Rucker will represent the Army in competition with other military services for the Department of Defense Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence, which recognizes outstanding efforts in the operations and maintenance of U.S. military installations.

The Army's chief of staff presents ACOE awards annually to recognize performance excellence in installation management. The awards recognize continuous business process improvement, individual innovation, groundbreaking initiatives, and dedication to efficiency, effectiveness and customer care. These efforts directly affect the quality of support to Soldiers, Families, civilian employees and retirees on Army installations.

The ACOE program uses the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program Criteria for Performance Excellence -- an internationally recognized integrated management system -- to evaluate the competing installations. The criteria are the basis for performance excellence recognition programs worldwide and in federal agencies including the U.S. Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Coast Guard. Participants are judged against this common standard and not against each other.

The chief of staff of the Army has placed emphasis on reforming how the Army operates. The ACOE program supports reform by using a holistic approach emphasizing the alignment of business operations using an Integrated Management System. The system is tailored for today's Army installations to enhance efficiencies, innovation, sustainability and continuous process improvement in providing community members excellent services and facilities in a quality environment.

Army communities are the backbone of Army readiness. Forces train in and deploy from these communities and return to be sustained by them. Soldiers who are convinced that their leaders care about them and their Families perform their mission with more confidence.

Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, assistant chief of staff for Installation Management, has said that installations of the future must be energy secure and resilient. The Army Communities of Excellence program promotes installations that leverage artificial intelligence, big data analytics and smart city research to innovate.