By Ashley Strehle, Fort Riley Public AffairsJanuary 11, 2010
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, has many titles. But he defines himself, first and foremost, as a Family man.
During his visit to Fort Riley Jan. 8, Lynch stayed true to this title as much of his day revolved around the Army Family Covenant - visiting with Family readiness groups and attending a child development center ribbon cutting. Lynch also learned about Fort Riley's plan for the future.
At the Family Readiness MUSTER - a meeting for commanders, first sergeants, Family readiness group leaders and Family readiness support assistants - Lynch reassured attendees of the Army's commitment to the covenant.
Though the Army has less money than it did last year, it does have $225 billion, Lynch said. As the Army works to maximize efficiency in existing programs, they will continue to do everything they have been doing for military Families.
"It is our solemn pledge that we will not do anything to walk back from the AFC," he said. "That's non-negotiable. The Army is going through a difficult time, and the strain on military Families is 'almost unbearable'. Our Soldiers, our fighters, are ensuring that our children and their children enjoy the same freedoms we enjoy."
Lynch used his Family as an example, pointing out he has been away from his wife, Sarah, for four of the last six years. This strain on military Families, led Lynch to stress the importance of sessions like the FRG MUSTER.
Following the MUSTER meeting, where he learned about upcoming events and programs offered at Fort Riley, Lynch addressed one concern - noting the many great programs on post, he was worried people didn't know about them.
This is a problem Lynch has seen across the Army.
"We have the best programs in the world," he said. "But if nobody knows about them, we might as well not even have the programs."
Lynch believes this is a fundamental issue the Army command group is working to fix.
To address this problem, Lynch suggested looking at the different ways people access information.
Lynch asked MUSTER attendees how they received the majority of their information: from print media, television or the internet.
Through a show-of-hands vote, the winner was clear: the majority of attendees received their information from the Internet. Lynch said he has seen the same response across the Army.
He encouraged post leaders to use the Internet to provide better outreach to Army Families. Outreach to Army Families is the reason Lynch was excited to become IMCOM commander.
"It's the place where I would have the authority to truly influence our Soldiers and their Families on a daily basis in a substantial way," he said.
Lynch learned more about Family life at Fort Riley when he attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the 1st Infantry Division CDC.
The 26,000-square-foot facility, located in Building 4012 on Custer Hill, is the sixth CDC to open on post. It will provide 232 additional child care spaces for children from 6 weeks to 5 years old.
At the event, Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Brown echoed points Lynch made at the MUSTER.
Although the Army is dealing with an economic downturn, the Army recognizes the importance of military Families, Brown said.
"What we do recognize is that the AFC and the tenets of it and the importance of taking care of Soldiers' Families isn't taken away," Brown said.
While at Fort Riley, Lynch also attended the 2015 Campaign Plan brief, where 1st Inf. Div. and post leaders shared their plan for Fort Riley's future with key community leaders.
The plan focuses Fort Riley's efforts over the next five years, in order to secure additional resources and attract Soldiers and the Civilian workforce to post.
Leaders will focus on four primary goal areas: Army Force Generation, resilience, sustainability and community. Each of these goal areas has a series of actions and objective outcomes. The plan aims to develop Fort Riley into the premier division-level installation in the world.