PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Picatinny Arsenal leaders recently hosted community leaders from multiple municipalities and jurisdictions surrounding the installation.

The Public-Public Partnership (P3) luncheon was held at the Cannon Gate Catering and Conference Center on April 13.

The gathering was led by Brig. Gen. Alfred F. Abramson, commanding general, Picatinny Arsenal, and the installation's Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Ivey.

"Why are we here?" Ivey asked before discussing the P3 U.S. Army initiative.

"Maximize savings through cost avoidance and shared service while enhancing community relationships.

LOWER GARRISON BUDGETS

"The Army and DoD have experienced decreasing installation/garrison budgets on some level, and our command at the installation management level does not foresee it increasing relatively soon, but for good reason," Ivey said.

"The money is moving toward ensuring the warfighter, specifically deployable units, has the training and weapon systems needed to operate in austere conditions. That means we have to maximize the utility of the resources that we have," Ivey added.

Representatives from Bridgewater, Dover, Rockaway Township, Wharton, the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, and Saint Clare's Health System, were invited to suggest how Picatinny could provide them with services that would benefit their communities, in return for services that could benefit the installation.

Topics discussed included cost avoidance, cost savings, and memorandums of agreement or understanding that would provide "win-win" situations for both parties.

The commander spoke about mutual aid agreements that the installation's emergency services directorate has with surrounding communities.

"We've increased our external (fire) responses by 80 percent between this time last year and this year," Ivey said, referring to a recent partnership with the Office of Emergency Management in Morris County.

"We entered into an agreement for their dispatching capabilities that provide us with a state-of-the-art, fully functioning dispatch center, and in return we help provide (emergency) responses to the county.

"The majority of local fire departments are volunteer-based departments and do not have the hazardous materials response capabilities that our department has."

Ivey noted that there are some challenges and risks with these types of partnerships, but expressed hope that these risks could be mitigated with fruitful communications.

Some of the Picatinny-based organizations whose representatives spoke to the community leaders included Emergency Services; Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; Public Works, Religious Services and Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

PLANTING THE SEED

"If you have something you would like offer, let's talk about it," Ivey said. "Let's shape it, start that dialogue, plant the seed, and figure this out together with pen and paper."

"We, the DoD, and Picatinny in particular, can no longer operate in a vacuum by ourselves," Abramson said in closing.

Picatinny leaders plan to follow up with the community leaders who attended to see if any ideas from the brainstorming session might eventually result in agreements.