Leaders and planners from the regional community and Fort Riley joined forces for an Army Community Partnership workshop April 15 at Riley’s Community Center. Thirty-five individuals, including Fort Riley professionals, gathered in-person for the first workshop held since 2019. Fifteen additional leaders joined the workshop virtually.
“Fort Riley partners with over 100 on and off-post entities in order to provide the best training and care for our Soldiers, family members, and civilians,” said Col. Will McKannay, Fort Riley Garrison Commander. “We currently have 39 formalized agreements as well as nine mutual aid agreements with emergency response partners in the region.”
The purpose of the workshop was to facilitate and promote mutually beneficial partnerships within the Central Flint Hills Region that maximize efficiencies, reduce costs and strengthen community relationships while sustaining or improving the quality of services provided. The U.S. Army has three types of formal partnerships between federal and local governments. Those types include memorandums of understanding, memorandums of agreement and Intergovernmental Support Agreements known as IGSAs.
Ben Van Becelaere, Chief of the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, said “Currently, Fort Riley has three IGSAs with Kansas State University, the City of Manhattan (Kansas), and the Kansas Traffic Resource Safety Office.“
Attendees of the workshop formed five topical working groups focused on public works, recreation, emergency management, education and medical services. Working group participants brainstormed potential partnerships and then selected their top three ideas. In future meetings of those working groups, participants plan to evaluate the feasibility and determine which of the three available formal partnership vehicles could apply.
“It is important to note that our partnerships are not just about benefiting Fort Riley,” McKannay said. “We aim to ensure that our formal agreements have mutual benefits to the installation and community partners.”
Leading ideas from the workshop included potential partnerships for recycling, road maintenance and repair, joint training of lifeguards or coaches, a regional emergency operations center and medical supplies commodities purchases.
Throughout 2021, working group members will discuss these ideas and more to propose and implement partnerships to maintain or improve services provided for Soldiers and family members and strengthen ties with communities and strategic stakeholders.
The next Army Community Partnership workshop is being planned for 2022.