JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Every Army installation is unique, meaning no two garrison commanders have the exact same job.
However, enduring leadership principles, priorities and responsibilities hold steady for all garrison commanders. That’s why the commanding general of U.S. Army Installation Management Command, Lt. Gen. Douglas Gabram, looks for every opportunity to gather and synchronize the leaders who command 75 Army garrisons worldwide.
This week, Gabram hosted the annual IMCOM Garrison Commander’s Conference, held virtually again due to the vagaries of global travel restrictions.
Commanders and command sergeants major, along with key civilian teammates and senior staff from the IMCOM headquarters, strategized methods to continue improving service delivery and strengthen the readiness and resilience of Soldiers, families and civilians.
“Installations are the Army’s epicenter and are platforms of readiness,” Gabram said.
He emphasized the IMCOM mission of delivering quality base support to enable readiness for a globally responsive Army.
Gabram and other senior leaders facilitated discussions on several complex topics like the Facilities Investment Plan, garrison support to the permanent change of station move process, and the strategy to optimize Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation service delivery in light of revenue loss resulting from pandemic-related closures.
The group also spent time discussing ways to conserve energy on post and taking actions now to help mitigate the impacts of climate change in the future. “I need your mental and physical energy on energy,” Gabram said.
Regardless of the topic, a consistent theme throughout was the importance of effective leadership. In addition to Gabram and other senior officers and civilians sharing their experiences, the group heard from Gen. Ed Daly, commanding general of Army Materiel Command, and retired Gen. Robert Brown, president and CEO of the Association of the United States Army.
Daly focused his advice on applying leadership to IMCOM’s current mission set, and Brown on leadership principles in general.
“You all have the most difficult job in the Army, and the most important,” Brown said to the garrison commanders.
A three-time senior commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and forts Benning and Leavenworth, Brown said good leaders are inclusive and create environments where good ideas are heard and can reach the top.
“Our people are our strategic advantage,” Brown said.
He emphasized the importance of an empowered team, especially within a diverse workforce.
Brown discussed exemplary leadership – from George Patton to Dwight D. Eisenhower – and left the group with three words of advice: Challenge, motivate and inspire.
“People are the Army’s greatest asset,” Gabram echoed, after Brown challenged all commanders to leave the conference thinking of one relationship they will nurture and expand in the upcoming week, and then making that a weekly habit.