The Army Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management recently announced that Fort Knox is one of two installations to earn an honorable mention in the 2018 Army Communities of Excellence competition.

The competition, managed by ACSIM, highlights Army installations that have achieved excellence in business and process innovation, created one-of-a-kind initiatives, demonstrated superior facility management capabilities, discovered cost saving-efficiencies, and improved overall quality of life for Soldiers, civilians and Family members.

The competition uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework as evaluation criteria, which includes leadership, strategic planning, customers, knowledge management, workforce, operations and results.

Fort Knox Garrison Commander Col. Patrick Kaune said he believes several criteria played into the win, but the installation's commitment to its customers played a large role.

"I think we really excelled in providing top-notch customer service to our mission partners, Soldiers and Families," Kaune said. "We truly have outstanding mission partners on this installation, and we have the privilege to provide service to those professionals. Our dedicated workforce takes that responsibility very seriously and always exercises a sense of professionalism to address our customers' readiness needs and provide the best service possible."

Fort Knox competed against 35 other Army installations in this year's competition. Of those, six were recognized -- Fort Rucker, Alabama, earned gold and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, earned silver. Fort Stewart, Georgia, and U.S. Army Garrison, Daegu, South Korea, tied for bronze. Fort Wain-wright, Alaska, joined Fort Knox in receiving honorable mention.

Fort Knox has a long history of earning Army Communities of Excellence accolades, receiving awards in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Kaune said he believes there are areas where the installation can position itself for the gold award in the years to come.

"We've got to be committed to operational excellence and continue to look at how we can improve our support, relationships with mission partners, communication with the community and most importantly, the programs and services which truly contribute to the Army's readiness," Kaune said. "You truly have to be committed. It can't just be an interest."

Fort Knox Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Garrick Griffin said new ideas and learning from others are key to improving the installation's status as a community of excellence.

"Innovation is an important part of this competition," said Griffin. "We also need to take a close look at the things this year's top award winners achieved and see how we can apply those best practices here."

Kaune said they can't expect the Army to provide more money for programs than it already has.

"It's important to find ways to operate at our current funding level but accomplish as much as we can with what we have," Kaune said.

An ACOE awards ceremony will be conducted at the Pentagon at a date to be determined.

"Sergeant major and I consider ourselves blessed to work with Soldiers and civilians who are so dedicated to delivering programs and services at such a high level," Kaune said. "We are very fortunate to be part of such a team of professionals."