FORT HOOD, Texas - Two dozen future garrison command teams, representing 21 Army garrisons, made the trip here from Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, as part of the United States Army Installation Management Command Garrison Pre-Command Course.
The two-week course provides new Army garrison leaders with tips and best practices on how to succeed in their new roles. The course focuses on developing the skills needed to lead an Army garrison, including budgeting, human resources and operations management.
In addition, the course provides participants with an opportunity to network with other garrison leaders and learn from their experiences. Coming to this sprawling Central Texas installation was an eye-opening experience for some of the students.
“I think to come to one of the largest installations and see how significant and important that the roles and responsibilities of the garrison are, it’s just impressive,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Denice Malvae, currently the command sergeant major for the 3rd Infantry Division’s Sustainment Brigade but heading soon to Germany to serve with U.S. Army Garrison – Stuttgart.
“(Making) the resources and the facilities better for the Soldiers and families here at Fort Hood, they have actually set that tone and that standard,” she said, adding that she believes other installations could learn a lot from Fort Hood.
The future command teams had a chance to visit several areas of interest on the installation, including a child development center, barracks, family housing and some of the many motor pools on post. The teams also had an opportunity to sit in on a weekly training session with the Garrison Emergency Management Services inside the Emergency Operations Center.
This was a valuable experience for future leaders, as they could see firsthand some of the challenges faced by those who work on the installation. They also gained a better understanding of the policies and procedures that are in place to deal with emergencies.
Col. Chad R. Foster, commander of U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood, explained to the future command teams the importance of working with the local community and integrating them into emergency planning.
“You’re going to see community integration with everybody,” Foster told the group. “From the local school district to the local police forces, fire departments and everything in between, they’re integrated in this operation center when we deal with something.”
Foster added that this level of integration is essential to respond effectively to any situation that may arise. Having all the relevant parties involved in the planning process, he said, can quickly identify and address potential problems. Additionally, this collaborative effort helps build trust and foster greater communication and understanding between the military and its neighboring civilian partners.
The goal of the course it that upon completion, participants will have understanding of how to effectively lead an Army garrison and be prepared to take on the challenges of this critical role.