Stephen Sullivan, the Chief Financial Officer and Director for Resources, Installations, and Materiel for the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve, visited Fort McCoy from April 25-27 to learn more about the installation and see facilities throughout the post.
Sullivan’s visit included an initial overview briefing by Garrison Commander Col. Michael Poss with other members of the Fort McCoy Garrison command team as well as several Fort McCoy workforce leaders and members.
The visit also included tours of barracks buildings and dining facilities used for the Operation Allies Welcome mission at Fort McCoy between Aug. 15, 2021, and Feb. 15, 2022. And Sullivan received an aerial tour aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk that showed him the entire installation from north to south and in between.
At the end of his visit, Sullivan said he learned a lot more about Fort McCoy.
“I count this as my first visit to Fort McCoy,” Sullivan said. “The last visit was kind of cut short in the middle of august last year. I was on the ground and then everything spun up for Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), so I definitely wanted to commit to coming back as soon as possible. I think the thing that struck me the most (in this visit) is the commitment of the entire staff — from the garrison commander and command sergeant major down to the directors. As we went around and visited the different facilities like the airfield, the dining facilities, and the medical training, every single staff member I met was passionate about what they were doing and had exceptional facilities.”
Sullivan said also having an opportunity to see first-hand where the Afghan guests were housed during OAW was helpful as he worked to get funding to restore facilities after the operation.
“We want to ensure that Fort McCoy retains its capability as Mobilization Force Generation Installation (MFGI), and also … more importantly … to ensure that our Soldiers when they come here to train they have proper facilities that are in good condition, and are clean and safe (for use).”
The aerial tour of the post also provided for a lot of insight of the expanse of Fort McCoy, Sullivan said.
“The aerial tour was a really great opportunity to see the expanse of the Fort McCoy training area and also all of the modern ranges,” Sullivan said. “We got to see all the capabilities that are here at Fort McCoy that weren’t really evident to me in my past experience or understanding. Fort McCoy is like a hidden gem in a lot of ways. … I got a lot of feedback from the staff about how they're making sure that Fort McCoy is aligned with the standards created by the Army and how they’re looking at ways they can lean forward and make sure that we have flexibility and space to expand if necessary to make sure we continue to stay relevant. And staying relevant is important.”
In his role, Sullivan is responsible for the oversight of the Chief of Army Reserve’s Title 10 responsibilities for four separate appropriations: Reserve personnel, Army; operation and maintenance, Army Reserve; military construction, Army Reserve; and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account totaling $8.2 billion. He also oversees the real property accountability, sustainment, restoration, and modernization; equipping; and logistics requirements for 189,500 Soldiers and 11,000 civilians supporting 2,161 units, five installations, and 742 separate facilities operating in all 50 states, five U.S. territories, and 24 countries.
Sullivan was also able to see some of the new construction taking place at Fort McCoy, especially the new transient training troop barracks that were recently completed. He discussed the importance of modernization.
“So the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army are focused on people,” Sullivan said. “It’s one of the top priorities — people — as well as modernization and readiness. So making sure that we have modern facilities that support our Soldiers and provide clean, safe areas where they can do lodging while they’re here for transient training so that they can really focus on the training that they’re going to do. … Having those modern facilities here on post is really important.
“I did have an opportunity to actually walk through the new barracks, and it is state-of-the-art,” Sullivan said. “I think it’s a good design, especially how they have essentially four different bays on each floor. … We’ve been working at our level to engage with Headquarters, Department of the Army, and also congressional staffers and members to emphasize the importance of these barracks projects here at Fort McCoy. I (also) think the garrison command team and others here at Fort McCoy have done a fabulous job engaging with the community and congressional members to get their support.”
Sullivan said he was also impressed at how the Fort McCoy team was innovative in getting building 2000 renovated on the cantonment area. Building 2000 was once the post recreation center and is now designated as a main building to support the MFGI mission.
“Building 2000 (is) where we took an old building and we were able to use non-military construction dollars to be able to restore it to a new capability,” Sullivan said. “Kudos to the (Fort McCoy) Directorate of Public Works team, the resource management team, and the command team for having that vision to say, ‘What can we do ourselves? What can we fix ourselves to increase capability?’”
Sullivan noted, again, that great things happen because of the people who make it happen.
“It's military, civilians, and contractors who all play a key roles in ensuring that we continue to maintain readiness,” Sullivan said. “I think the positive command climate that I can see from the garrison command team (at Fort McCoy) filters down to the directors. And as I said, I went to various different sites and everybody I engaged with … they are passionate about what they do. … I think across the board, we have people who have a focus on supporting our Soldiers, building readiness, and are constantly looking at ways they can be innovative to improve readiness and training and be cost efficient.”
During his visit, Sullivan didn’t make a stop at Fort McCoy’s South Post Housing area, but he did say he could see it pretty well during the aerial tour and said it’s an impressive housing area.
“As I mentioned before, the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army have their people first initiative … and as part of that people first, there is a focus on Soldiers, families, civilians, and contractors who work on our installations,” Sullivan said. “It’s important to ensure that we have top-notch facilities. Built in there is unaccompanied housing, family housing, child development centers, youth centers, barracks — those are all things that are part of that focus.
“I think it's kind of a common saying that our families also serve,” Sullivan said. “And our civilian employees are serving, so we need to make sure that we’re taking care of those families as well so that when Soldiers get the call to go to training or to deploy they know that their families are going to be well taken care of. Fort McCoy has some of the newest Army family housing in the entire Army. … I was able to see to that they all have pretty sizable yards so you can get out and enjoy your time and space. I (also) had an opportunity (recently) to sit in on a briefing where Fort McCoy was identified as having the highest resident satisfaction score in Army-owned family housing for the second year in a row. And I think the only Army-owned family housing that had a score above 90 percent for two years in a row.”
Sullivan also discussed how Fort McCoy is on the leading edge of natural resources management. He said it’s important to be good stewards and achieve a balance.
“I think it's really important that we have a balance in that we are good stewards of all the resources that we have,” Sullivan said. “We have to find some kind of balance with our training requirements to ensure that we’re not causing undue damage to the different natural resources that we have. I think it’s part of a commitment to the communities around our installation as well that we are supporting the waterways and all the forestry areas and any endangered species that might be here. … We’re (always) thinking about (how) we must have a planned-out effort to say let’s make sure that we can continue to train and maximize our maneuver space, but also being good stewards of the natural resources.”
Sullivan also said he sees Fort McCoy continuing to be an important part of the Army’s and Army Reserve’s future.
“I think Fort McCoy is going to continue to be a key piece of the U.S. Army Reserve’s infrastructure that’s necessary to train and mobilize our forces,” Sullivan said. “And as I mentioned before, there’s a lot of overall pressure on availability of funding and a lot of competing priorities. So when I talk about people, modernization, and readiness, it’s always about how do we make sure that we fund all of these things appropriately.
“What I appreciate is like when I talked to the (Fort McCoy) staff and got a sense of how they’re being innovative, how they’re maximizing the use of training areas and finding places where you can do different types of training using the same training areas,” Sullivan said.
And Sullivan said he appreciated the chance to visit the installation.
“I would just go back to say that it's a super welcoming place to come to,” Sullivan said. “Everyone I encountered across the entire trip had a positive attitude and was passionate about what they were doing. They’re focused on how they can improve the processes here at Fort McCoy to improve training readiness for the Army Reserve. … The integration of all those different capabilities was something I didn't appreciate before I got here.”
Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.” Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.