By Kari Hawkins, USAG RedstoneJanuary 8, 2010
REDSTONE ARSENAL-- Building relationships - between military organizations; among Soldiers, civilians and contractors; throughout the Redstone community; and with city, state and national leaders - has been and will continue to be the key to meeting mission success for the Aviation and Missile Command. No Army organization stands alone. AMCOM\'s commander, Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, knows that it's his organization's ability to build teaming relationships that will sustain success in providing Soldiers with the best aviation and missile systems during a time of uptempo support, tight budgets, high expectations and fast turnaround programs. "This past year has been very successful in the context that the mission we have at AMCOM and Team Redstone has been met. Our priority is to provide what is needed to support Soldiers who are defending our country," Myles said during an interview in his office on the fifth floor of the Sparkman Center's building 5300. "We have been able to sustain our support at a very high level with a high band of excellence." Myles defines an effective organization as one that can "sustain excellence over a period of time and, holistically, be able to exceed all expected standards over time. Its value of performance increases over time." By that definition, AMCOM and its partners - Program Executive Office for Aviation, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, and the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, among others -- are examples of effective organizations, he said, adding that the ability to continue to support Soldiers at a high rate is due to motivated, highly skilled and experienced employees - both civilians and contractors. "AMCOM employees are driven by the desire to assure our Soldiers have everything they need to execute the mission and come home safely," Myles said. "This work force is amazing at seeing what needs to get done and then getting it done." The ideal AMCOM employee, the general said, "is one who recognizes it's not about themselves. It's about others - the Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who they are taking care of and that's their mission." AMCOM's performance has made it one of the top organizations within the Army Materiel Command. "We are consistently recognized as the model for life cycle management and for taking on the materiel enterprise approach," Myles said. "When (AMC commander) General (Ann) Dunwoody briefs four stars and senior leaders she always refers to this aviation and missile enterprise as a model for the whole Army." That doesn't mean that 2009 - and consequently 2010 - haven't come without their challenges. Myles said the "turbulence of growth as related to BRAC (2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations) has created an ever increasing need for highly qualified personnel in the Tennessee Valley." AMCOM - as with other Army organizations - is committed to providing employees the freedom to seek better opportunities both within AMCOM, and with partner organizations and private industry. At the same time, AMCOM must manage to maintain its uptempo performance while working through issues related to employee turnover. "We want to encourage employees to go wherever they see their best opportunity because we know a happy employee is an effective employee," Myles said. "I hope our employees come to work every day knowing they are coming to a place where people respect each other, where their accomplishments are rewarded, where their work is valued and where people really care for each other. "A lot of great Americans receive less money so they can work in a place that's more rewarding to them. We have to make sure the work force knows how important they are, and that their contributions are recognized and rewarded." The entire Arsenal work force will be affected as more and more BRAC-related changes become reality. Although some changes have already occurred - such as the merger of the Redstone Technical Test Center and Fort Rucker's Aviation Technical Test Center into the Redstone Test Center, the standing up of the Army's Security Assistance Command at Redstone and the growing number of employee transfers and hires with the Army Materiel Command, the Missile Defense Agency and other organizations - Myles said the Redstone community will see even more significant changes during 2010 and into 2011. The deadline for all 2005 BRAC-related changes is Sept. 15, 2011. "I ask that all our employees open their doors to our newest employees and greet them with our Southern hospitality," Myles said. "We need to all recognize the changes going on around us. AMC headquarters will be here shortly. Welcome them with open arms and show them the Southern charm this community is known for." He also urged existing employees to have patience as the Arsenal grows in employment numbers and capabilities. "With more people comes more traffic, more construction delays. But eventually things will get better," he said. For Myles, the challenges often revolve around providing existing and incoming employees with the services they need to perform their job and to enjoy the amenities that make the Tennessee Valley a great place to live and work. As AMCOM's and Redstone Arsenal's commander, he spends much of his time communicating with local, state and national leaders on projects that affect the Arsenal working environment. "We are continuing to collaborate with the leadership of the Tennessee Valley and the state to ensure our critical infrastructure needs are recognized and action is taken," he said. Road projects, including improvements at Gate 7 on Martin Road, the construction of a quadruple bypass around Huntsville, the widening of Highway 53 and Winchester Road, and other improvements on roads west of the Arsenal, along with the area's educational systems, health care and work force development are all high priority items for Redstone Arsenal. "The education piece is so important. We need to sustain and improve our educational system here while at the same time grow the system by 10,000 children," Myles said. "We are seeing a significant impact right now in Tennessee Valley schools. But we also predict a significant impact in 2012 and 2020. We want to ensure quality of education for children who we hope to reach out and hire someday." As one of the Army's largest civilian installations, the local and state community is much more entwined with the Arsenal population than on installations with large Soldier populations. As a result, the "local community has a significant impact on our work force. Our employees have lived and worked here for a long time," the general said. Myles said his "interaction with the local community and senior leaders at the local, state and federal level is much higher than I had anticipated. But it is important to make sure an environment is created that allows the work force to come onto the Arsenal in a safe way and that we have the right environment for our families so that our work force can focus on the job that needs to be done." Although local and state leaders are facing challenging issues, Myles said it has been rewarding to work with Tennessee Valley leaders. "The relationship we have with the Tennessee Valley is as close a relationship that I've ever seen between an installation and a community in my 35 years in the Army," he said. AMCOM and Redstone Arsenal leadership are focused on assuring that "the right environment is set for the work force to execute their mission. Leaders must provide a safe environment, ensure that employees clearly understand the mission and make sure employees are resourced to accomplish the mission," he said. Mentioning Brig. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco of PEO for Missiles and Space; Maj. Gen. Tim Crosby of PEO for Aviation; Robin Buckelew, acting executive director of AMRDEC; Ronnie Chronister, the AMCOM deputy commander; and all of Team Redstone's deputies and program managers, Myles said "this leadership team is focused on one effort and that's the Soldier. I wouldn't trade this group of leaders with anyone." And, adding to that mix Team Redstone's employees, Myles continued: "At the end of the day, I want to thank everyone for a great year. The work force is in my prayers. I look forward to working with this great team during 2010. I enjoy working with the best of the best, and that's what we have here at Team Redstone."