"What is the master plan?" A very simple question, but not always easy to answer. Should you begin at the end? Should you explain the vision plan, concepts in the illustrative plan or tailor to senior commander focus areas?

The master plan and its development is complicated, and shifting priorities or requirements add a degree of complexity, but your response to this simple question also should be simple. It should be shown in one map.

In military facilities, the future development map is the master plan. It is the culmination of all of our work and reinforces the inventory of real property, the assessment of facility conditions, and the recommendation of military construction priorities. This map instantly illustrates the master plan and does so judiciously and prudently.

So, how do we get this grand, ambitious map? We create the capital investment strategy.

In June 2015, a vague response to the senior commander spurred what would evolve into the Fort Campbell CIS framework. We did not have a clear answer explaining why we were limited in our selection of unspecified minor military construction projects. The subsequent discussion motivated us to create a military construction scoring model and find a way to clearly illustrate Fort Campbell's entire capital investment program.

Through a collaborative effort with Installation Management Command and Michael Baker International, we worked to create our revolutionizing, yet pragmatic, CIS. Along with the future development map, the CIS includes objective scoring models for each primary funding stream, an integrated and filtered 1-n list, a financial basis for military construction, and an analysis of installation and unit requirements. Using Army facility investment objectives and senior commander focus areas as guides, we used this information to create a clear and justifiable military construction program through 2040.

The capital investment strategy brings the installation master plan closer to fulfillment by providing those who battle in the planning, programming, budgeting and execution arenas information to successfully defend components of the Army installations program. Our goal is to show Army leadership a coherent investment program based on critical needs aligned with validated mission requirements. At the installation level, the CIS provides a comprehensive illustration of current and future maintenance, repair and construction projects across funding streams. Additionally, it answers why we recommend one action over another.

The capital investment strategy describes how to execute the installation master plan long into the future, helping to maintain vital senior leadership support needed to ensure its achievement. Just as importantly, the CIS provides the means to document operational and mission requirements, adjust course as needed, and continue to justify the investment program.

Although other components of the master plan may end up as doorstops, the 20-year future development map will be on the walls and in the hands of master planners, programmers and senior leaders influencing how scarce resources should be invested. Hopefully, the next time someone asks about the master plan, you will have this map and a quick answer within reach.

Michael Malham is a community planner in the directorate of public works at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Campbell, Kentucky.