By Mr. Mark Weiman (AMC)January 13, 2011
DAVENPORT, Iowa - Maj. Gen. Yves J. Fontaine, commanding general of U. S. Army Sustainment Command, hosted a town hall meeting with the ASC workforce at the Adler Theatre on Jan. 13.
Demonstrating that communication is a top command priority, Fontaine briefed employees about a number of topics important to the future success of the command while also fielding questions from the audience. Emphasizing the importance of the mission, Fontaine urged the audience to keep their ultimate customers in mind.
"These guys are your customers," said Fontaine, pointing to a Soldier displayed on a theater screen behind him. "You are deeply involved at the tip of the spear to make Soldiers successful."
Fontaine started his presentation by highlighting some ASC success stories from the past year. One of these successes was assembling a group of ASC Soldiers in a matter of days to deploy and provide assistance to earthquake victims in Haiti. Another success story was taking operational control of 77 Directorates of Logistics from Installation Management Command.
He then shared the Army's way ahead, which guides ASC's way ahead. The most important objective is becoming the lead materiel integrator executive agent for Army Materiel Command. The LMI mission has three main components: visibility, supply, and maintenance - all necessary to successfully execute the mission of equipping the Army. Some organizational changes will be made to support this new mission, he said.
To better convey the command goals, Fontaine unveiled new mission and vision statements for ASC.
"ASC organizes, trains, and sustains a quality deployable force and integrates materiel and services to the Soldier," said Fontaine. The new vision statement was stated as "ASC: The Soldier's Face to the Materiel Enterprise."
"Our focus should not be up [the chain], but down to the Soldier," said Fontaine. "If you have done something for the good of the Soldier, it has been a successful day."
Fontaine highlighted some of the top priorities for the upcoming year. These included the execution of the EAGLE contract strategy by releasing the request for proposal by July 2011, taking full command and control of the DOLs by October 2011, completing the Materiel Management Center transformation by July 2011, and continuing resiliency training for both Soldiers and civilians.
"I'm pushing resiliency training because it helps people; it helps you cope with emergencies," said Fontaine. "It works."
He concluded his remarks by speaking of ASC as a team. In order for the team to be successful, he said, it needs to communicate, understand Army and civilian cultures, be resourced, be trained, and be focused on the mission.
"We are the Soldiers' face to the Materiel Enterprise," said Fontaine, meaning ASC will stand "On the Line" with Soldiers.
Following his briefing, Fontaine addressed four questions submitted ahead of time via the ASC website.
The first area of interest dealt with ASC's proposed personnel end-strength of 1,593 employees and the matter of a hiring freeze. He said the 1,593 number was derived as the necessary number needed to adequately support the mission. When addressing the hiring freeze, Fontaine replied that "there is no hiring freeze."
A second topic of interest was ASC's role as the LMI for the Army. Fontaine stated that the function is not new; what's new is that ASC will be the focal point for providing equipment to Soldiers rather than numerous agencies acting independently.
A third topic that interested employees was construction. Fontaine said the command has taken a three-pronged initiative to this process. The efforts concentrated on improving headquarters work areas, improving deployed forces' work areas, and improving the aesthetics and safety of the headquarters buildings.
A final area of interest was having "turf time" with management. Fontaine stated that "turf time is for everybody" and workers should have the ability to have a dialogue with him and their supervisors and participate in this process.
Fontaine also took some spontaneous questions from audience members. One employee asked about North Korea, to which Fontaine stated by having a presence in South Korea, ASC ensures materiel readiness, while such exercises as the recent download of the USNS Watson sends a message to any would-be adversaries.
Fontaine concluded the town hall meeting by praising his employees.
"Thank you for what you do every day," he said. "Your work is appreciated in the field by the Soldier. Keep doing what you are doing."