JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – FORT SAM HOUSTON: Leaders from throughout the short but eventful history of U.S. Army Installation Management Command convened virtually Feb. 23, 2021, to learn how the command has evolved into one of the most impactful organizations in the Army.
The host of the event was IMCOM’s current commander, Lt. Gen. Doug Gabram, and he welcomed five former commanding generals, five deputy commanding generals, two command sergeants major, two Executive Deputies and several other senior civilians to the three and half hour event. In an interesting start to the discussion, Gabram asked everyone to catch the others up on what they’ve done since departing the Army. Three common themes emerged throughout this thought-provoking conversation among leaders past and present.
The first was all the senior leaders have remained very connected to the Army as Soldiers for Life. They are involved in volunteer work that makes life better for people in their community. From serving on boards for different veterans’ causes to co-chairing the Army’s Retired Soldier Council, IMCOM’s former leaders are continuing to serve members of the Army family.
After everyone’s update, Gabram summarized what he heard this way. “The scope and impact of your continued service to our nation are extraordinary. You embody IMCOM’s service culture and are using your talents, energies, influence and networks to make our world better.”
A second theme emerged later in the discussion, after IMCOM’s “legacy leaders” had been briefed on the rapidly growing scope of IMCOM responsibilities over the past 24 months as it has integrated into Army Materiel Command. “As the Army focuses more on its People strategy and quality of life on our installations, IMCOM is being called on to lead more and more of the Army’s top priorities,” Gabram said.
Gabram commented on the positive momentum gained with IMCOM becoming a major subordinate command under Army Material Command. He provided updates on the important and unprecedented work IMCOM is leading to improve housing, child care, spouse employment and the PCS move process. He described the Facility Investment Strategy, a coordinated, 10-year, Army-wide strategy to invest billions of dollars in barracks, Child Development Centers and Child and Youth Services (CDC/CYS) facilities, and to improve power projection and installation readiness at select garrisons.
IMCOM’s legacy leaders were extremely impressed in seeing this because they know firsthand the difficulty of building consensus across the Army for such an ambitious plan. Even more impressive, said Gabram, “It is widely regarded as flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions. However, the process to change the order of approved projects requires a decision by Army Senior Leaders. This is an Army plan; our job is to provide alternatives to the Commanding General Army Material Command so the chief and secretary can make informed, sound business decisions consistent with modernization priorities.”
IMCOM is also now leading initiatives that move our Army from the industrial age to the information age. The Digital Garrison mobile app provides up-to-date information about a full array of on-post services, facilities and events. It delivers users real-time announcements and notifications with important local information segmented to each of the 64 Army bases represented. Over 113,000,000 members of the Army community have so far downloaded and are using the app.
Another new tool is the Army Maintenance App. ArMA provides a direct communication link between Soldiers who live in barracks or tenants of Army-owned family housing and their maintenance provider. Once registered, ArMA allows Soldiers and tenants to submit work orders and communicate directly with repair technicians to explain the issue and/or upload photos of the needed repair. It also allows the user to schedule repair appointments, receive notifications when the repair is complete, and provide feedback when the work is done.
The fact IMCOM is building all this global momentum over the past year while simultaneously learning to operate in a COVID environment was lost on no one. “Garrison commanders are the center of gravity for the Army in the fight against COVID-19,” said Gabram.
The conference’s third theme, talent management, emerged from this discussion. All agreed garrison command is one of the most complex, challenging and unfamiliar assignments any officer or senior NCO can be selected for, and the Army should manage that talent to leverage the diverse and necessary skill sets these leaders develop while in these command positions.
Gabram summed up his feelings about his role as IMCOM commanding general this way. “I don’t do installation management, I do leader development and talent management.”
Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, Deputy Commanding General of IMCOM, added that in his discussions with senior commanders around the Army, “I am confident this past year has solidified the confidence of Army senior leaders in the quality of leadership demonstrated by our garrison commanders and command sergeants major.”
Before ending, Gabram recognized the leadership, sacrifice and dedication of McGuire and also Brig. Gen. James Moore, the IMCOM Chief of Staff, and Brig. Gen. Omuso George, IMCOM’s Director of Resource G8 who will all retire this summer and continue service as Soldiers for Life.
In brief closing comments, former IMCOM commander Lt. Gen. (R) Kenneth Dahl summarized the collective feeling of the legacy leaders this way. “IMCOM is performing at a level it never has before. My head is spinning from how much you are accomplishing. It is clear that your professionalism and ability, at every level of IMCOM, is extraordinary, especially in your civilian workforce. I am so proud to hear how much effort you put into taking care of them!”
At that point an unidentified participant weighed in with, “The world is comprised of two-thirds water … the rest is managed by IMCOM.”
Lt. Gen. Doug Gabram, commander of U.S. Army Installation Management Command, communicates with leaders worldwide from the IMCOM operations center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. On February 23, 2021, Gabram met virtually with IMCOM's former commanders and other "legacy leaders" to discuss IMCOM's evolution, operating in a COVID environment, current priorities, and future initiatives.
PHOTO BY BRITTANY NELSON, IMCOM PAO