SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Kicking off an aggressive four-day schedule, the commanding general of Installation Management Command, or IMCOM, reviewed operations at many U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii facilities and programs, Jan. 19.

Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch met with garrison command and program leaders and stressed the need for customer service tempered by the economic reality that more austere times lie immediately ahead for U.S. Army garrisons.

Lynch also serves as assistant Army chief of staff for installation management at the Pentagon and is responsible for barracks and family housing, family care, well-being, construction and installation funding, among other facets of installation management for all Army posts and installations worldwide.

At a midday meeting with installation commanders and directorates, Lynch repeatedly underscored the need for IMCOM to adopt what he termed a cost culture - reducing waste while identifying and eliminating duplication of services that fall beyond common levels of support, or CLS.

As a former Corps and Division commander, Lynch added he was a frequent offender in the recent past when budgets were plentiful. He previously had asked for many programs beyond CLS, "but now we can no longer afford to do so," he emphasized to his various audiences.

Lynch cited expensive contract services that fueled unrealistic expectations by families. However as one who calls himself as "the Family First General," he pointedly noted, "We are a nation at war ... the stress on families is almost unbearable, and we will fully fund and support the Army Family Covenant."

Lynch assumed command of IMCOM last November. He is known for his fundamental approach to problem solving: "Are we doing the right things'"

What follows is, if yes, a second question: "Are we doing things right'"

He challenged attendees to share not only the nice things that make them feel good, but also what is wrong in order to improve those things.

The development of an advanced motorcycle safety program received Lynch's praise as an example of a low-cost and realistic approach.

"This is one of the best practices I've been talking about ... this is a great program that saves lives," Lynch said.

A garrison customer service campaign spurred several queries, encouragement and emphasis on maximizing the existing Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, program.

Lynch discussed the importance of ICE, his direct involvement as the senior commander previously at Fort Hood and Fort Stewart, and his benchmark of reviewing and responding with action within 72 hours.

While endorsing garrison development and ownership of customer service, Lynch also reinforced the need for strategic communications across all levels of command.

USAG-HI's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation also captured the attention of Lynch later in the day. Kelly Andrews of its Community Recreation Division received an invitation to discuss marketing at the next Garrison Directors Conference.

"He liked our ability to customize our marketing strategies to the individual program" Andrews explained, adding that data supported DFMWR Marketing's strategies and results.

Lynch emphasized, "How well we are doing in providing support and services are measured through the lens of our Soldiers and families."

His tour ended Jan. 22.