Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch brought a message of confidence in the face of a new fiscal reality as he addressed Soldiers, Army Civilians, Family members and contractors assembled for the Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare Army Installations Symposium and Exhibition in San Antonio April 19.

"We are in a fundamentally different fiscal environment, but the mission remains," said Lynch, commanding general of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command and Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.

IMCOM provides the facilities, programs and services required to support Army readiness, sustain the All-Volunteer Force, and provide the infrastructure for current and future mission requirements.

"I've had the opportunity to do many jobs in the Army ... but they all pale in importance compared to what we do as the Installation Management Command," Lynch said. The command, like the rest of the Army, must live with new realities, according to Lynch. "I believe we have a 'spend' culture. We need to have a cost culture," he said.

Just as a family would manage its budget, "we need to ask three questions: 'Do we really need it'' 'Is it worth the cost'' 'What are we willing to do without''" Lynch described how he called for similar creativity as the co-chair of the Services and Infrastructure Core Enterprise. SICE integrates six direct reporting units, including IMCOM, providing essential services, infrastructure and operational support to the Army. The key stakeholders of SICE need to approach issues in collaboration as the Army takes an enterprise approach to running installations, he said.

In many areas, the new reality shows a healthy future for the Army. The service exceeded its recruitment goals, and a strong majority of spouses react positively to the idea of their Soldiers making a career of the military.

"As the IMCOM commander I am surrounded by Civilians," Lynch said. " I don't think they are sufficiently recognized for how important and dedicated they are. [To Civilians in the audience:] You are nothing short of amazing."

Lynch reiterated his message about the urgency of IMCOM's mission: "The Army won't break because of the strain on its Soldiers fighting and winning wars. But it might break because of the stress and strain on the family after a decade at war."

As ACSIM, Lynch says he spends most of his time focused on the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure. Fort Bliss, Texas, is the Army base facing the greatest growth in the number of Soldiers under this transformation. "It really is an amazing feat that only the Army could accomplish," he said. "There are a lot of moving parts, but we're able to stay focused on the mission."

It is a focus the Army needs to bring to bear on changing the way it does business, according to Lynch. The era of fiscal restraint is not going to go away, according to Lynch. "What are you going to do about it within your sphere of influence'"