JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – Covering a wide range of topics over its four-day run, the 2022 Installation Management Command Directorate – Training, or ID-T, Senior Leaders’ Forum accomplished its intended goal of giving new garrison command teams an informed head start.
The overarching thought that was solidified in the minds of many participants is the fact they are not alone in any challenge or endeavor as they go about the business of managing their respective installations.
“It’s the idea that there are people out there who can help,” observed Col. Robert J. Holcombe from Fort Rucker, Ala., in reference to ID-T staff members and others. “Meeting face-to-face with the ID-T staff – something we haven’t been able to do for the past three years – is the most important thing we accomplished here.”
The SLF has been interrupted by COVID-19 since 2020, and this event held Nov. 14-17 marked its return as an annual endeavor.
Holcombe and his senior enlisted advisor was one of about 10 garrison command teams in attendance. He and his fellow participants discussed issues; voiced their concerns; and listened to briefs while intermittently interfacing with ID-T staff.
“The purpose of this conference is not about learning,” said Holcombe, tenured 17 months as a garrison commander. “It’s about sharing experiences and ideas. Most of what we get out of this conference are the discussions with garrison commanders, garrison command sergeants major and the sharing of ideas and lessons learned. That’s really the benefit.”
Holcombe’s sentiment was widely shared. Col. Reggie Evans, garrison commander at Fort Gordon, Ga., said his forum experience has been fruitful due to the engagements with his fellow commanders and the ID-T staff. In doing so, he learned a few things.
“One, I found that the ID-T staff has a lot of capability to support the garrison, not so much from a horsepower perspective, but from an expertise perspective, and for that, I’d like to get more touchpoints with them and potentially have them come down to our installation for staff assistance visits,” he said, “With respect to the garrison commanders, it’s just awesome to get out and meet my fellow leaders and share … thoughts and stories of how we’re working through some of these challenges.”
Army garrisons, responsible for military member support services and installation infrastructure, undergo cycles of resource reductions, implementing new programs and policies, and managing a myriad of issues ranging from barracks upkeep to the safety of those working and living on its properties.
Although some issues are common among all garrisons, many have unique challenges. That is a fact CSM Michael Santiago from Fort Benning, Ga., said he came to appreciate during the forum.
“One of the things I learned and discovered … is that all of the garrisons across our respective [IMCOM] areas are not the same,” he said. “They have similar challenges, though. Having that understanding, we all have a lot of experiences we shared in how we approach these problems and come out with a positive outcome.”
Participants also buzzed about Michael D. Formica’s brief Tuesday afternoon. A former IMCOM Europe director, Formica is executive deputy to the commanding general, Training and Doctrine Command. Holcombe complimented him for successfully connecting the dots of those installations supporting schoolhouses with the vision of Gen. Gary Brito, the TRADOC commanding general.
“I thought that (the brief) was particularly good,” Holcombe said. “There’s such a connection between ID-T and TRADOC that if their senior leaders are not involved, and the ID-T commanders and command sergeants major don’t hear the TRADOC priorities, then we’re going to be disconnected and misaligned. Really, it’s important we’re all rowing in the same direction.”
The SLF concludes today. Forum participants were briefed by Lt. Gen. Omar Jones IV, IMCOM commanding general, in a late morning presentation. Jones assumed his position in July.
IMCOM Directorate - Training, headquartered at JBLE, oversees base operations and common services such as housing and Family and MWR activities at 11 installations located throughout the country. It is a subordinate of IMCOM, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.