By Howard Sugai, IMCOM-Pacific Public AffairsFebruary 19, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - "The Army Family Covenant will be fully funded. That is the Army's non-negotiable contract with our Soldiers and Families to provide the support and services they need."
That message was heard here loud and clear by all who engaged 'Defender 6', Lt. Gen. Ricky Lynch, commander of Installation Management Command.
Just barely three months into the job, 'Defender 6' was in Hawaii recently on a four-day whirlwind, event-crammed, fact-finding orientation to IMCOM-Pacific region headquarters and U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii at Schofield Barracks.
His schedule included meeting with Soldiers, family members, senior spouses, senior Army commanders, community leaders and a town hall with Army civilians. He also received updates and feedback on family support programs, training issues and visited new Army homes and communities. His visit also included a half-day visit to Makua Valley.
In his role as IMCOM commander, the 54 year-old Lynch is responsible for 106 installations and considers his job both a "profession and a passion."
"Our mission, truly, is to take care of Soldiers and Families," Lynch said. "IMCOM is a job truly designed to take care of Families and Soldiers. I was picked for IMCOM because I've been a division and corps commander," Lynch added.
Lynch, whose priorities are, "God, Family, Profession," and who portrays himself as "the Family First General," is most concerned about the stress on families during these years of multiple combat tours.
"Our Army won't break because of our Soldiers," Lynch said. "Even in the most difficult of times they reenlist. But the Army may break because of our Families. The strain and stresses on our Families is unimaginable and unbearable," Lynch added.
He knows that full well having served two combat tours in Iraq and another year assigned to a NATO command in Italy. Lynch will quickly tell you, "GOs (general officers) and their wives are not immune to deployments."
Lynch said, taking care of Families means making our Families "resilient." This meant focus on building and improving Family physical, emotional and spiritual fitness to help Families recover faster from the stress of deployments and separation.
Another critical concern Lynch expressed to all audiences is the expectation that IMCOM will have less money in future years due to our "deficit economy and funding the war."
"We have to become better stewards of our resources, look for ways to save money and get the most value for each dollar spent;" Lynch said. "We are moving away from a 'budget culture' to a 'cost culture,' and beginning to manage Army resources from an enterprise business perspective," Lynch added.
"This means working smarter to deliver the needed support and services to our Soldiers and Families more efficiently, with fewer resources and without sacrificing the quality of service," Lynch said.
Lynch challenged all audiences to think about what programs are important, what programs used to be important and no longer needed, and what programs are important that no one knows about.
"Ask yourself if you are doing the right things, then ask, are you doing them right. Then ask, what am I missing," said Lynch.
Lynch tells every audience that, "The Army Family Covenant will be fully funded, together with the life, health and safety services our Families need."
Add to the list, installation security operations and services; security guard operations and Army Force Generation, or ARFORGEN.
ARFORGEN is how the Army retrains its Soldiers for combat. How the Army adapts its capabilities, or develops new ones to meet the requirement of a rapid, constantly evolving operational environment.
Lynch is also concerned and working hard to ensure that Family programs are standardized at all installations and every Family should expect the same level of service, at the same delivery rate and quality.
He is also a firm believer in feedback and how well we are deploying our support and services to Soldiers and families. At every meeting he stresses the use of the Interactive Customer Evaluation or the 'ICE' comment program. While at Fort Hood, Texas, he read every ICE comment and required resolution or a solution to every negative comment within 72 hours.
But ultimately, Lynch believes, "The true metric of how well we fulfill the Army Family Covenant will be measured through the lens of our Soldiers and Families."