By T. Anthony BellJuly 26, 2018
FORT LEE, Va. (July 26, 2018) -- As a key advocate of Secretary of the Army Mark Esper's efforts to reshape military installations and ensure their capability of supporting the future war-fighter, Jordan Gillis is acutely focused on practices that increase readiness, modernization and process reform.
The acting Assistant Secretary of the Army -- Installations, Energy and Environment -- paid a rare visit to Fort Lee July 19. He met with the garrison leadership and staff, learned about Fort Lee operations and critical issues, and received an installation tour.
Patrick L. MacKenzie, deputy to the garrison commander, said the visit provided an opportunity to showcase the installation as a premier training base while touching upon issues critical to its success.
"The ASA hadn't been back to Fort Lee since the announcement of Base Realignment and Closure in 2005," MacKenzie said. "We found he was very engaging; very interested in what was going on here, and I think he learned a lot about the progress made after BRAC."
The 2005 BRAC mandate accommodated the consolidation of several schools at Fort Lee, nearly doubling the post population and requiring several hundred million dollars in construction. By far, the new Ordnance Campus reflects the enormous scope of the installation reshaping project, followed by the construction of CASCOM headquarters and an assortment of new training and barracks facilities.
During the Gillis brief, key garrison leaders laid out the missions and challenges they face, as well as anticipated future obstacles. The ASA listened intently and engaged the briefers, MacKenzie said.
"There was great back-and-forth communication with the key leaders," he said. "On the driving tour, we directed the ASA's attention to several topics, including unique installation design to facilitate Soldier training and Fort Lee's strategic location -- two hours from Washington, D.C. with convenient rail and road access -- capable of supporting contingency operations."
During a stop at the Directorate of Public Works, Gillis received a demonstration of the installation's Energy Management Control System, which monitors, controls and optimizes energy use in the majority of facilities on the installation.
"After the demonstration, Mr. Gillis shared his thoughts about Fort Lee being poised to become an Installation of the Future," MacKenzie said. "We've laid the groundwork for our ability to not only track and monitor energy usage in post facilities, but to also control the environments to conserve energy and save money in both usage and maintenance."
Installations of the Future is an ASA (IE&E) initiative that seeks to explore the possibilities of Army installations incorporating smart technologies, coupled with analytics and artificial intelligence, to provide faster awareness and decision options for Army leaders.
Gillis concluded his Fort Lee visit with a CASCOM command staff meeting. His busy itinerary did not permit time for a Traveller interview, however, MacKenzie is convinced the walk-through was meaningful and telling.
"I thought he was very engaging -- very interested in what goes on here -- and he got great briefings from our staff," he said. "His last words to me were how appreciative he was at the hospitality and the information provided. He really enjoyed his visit to Fort Lee."
Those interested in hearing more about future installation reshaping goals can find an April 2018 Association of the U.S. Army briefing by Gillis at http://youtu.be/9WDwG7ZG_tw.
Additional information on the Installations of the Future initiative is available at www.army.mil/standto/2018-07-11.