By Karl Weisel (USAG Wiesbaden)April 28, 2011
WIESBADEN, Germany - "We don't want you to do more with less; we want you to do less better."
That was among a series of messages shared by Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the U.S. Army's Installation Management Command, and his staff during the 2011 Installation Management Symposium in San Antonio April 18-21.
Acknowledging that in an era of "fundamentally different economic realities" cutting across the entire spectrum of U.S. government operations, a renewed focus on how dollars are spent to provide Soldiers and their families with vital services and support is crucial.
"Isn't it interesting that in these fundamentally different fiscal times that we find ourselves with less money, less fuel, less of everything," said IMCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola.
But, "we are not in an austere environment," explained Lynch, "we are in an environment of having less than we had before."
That means finding better ways to use natural resources and "human capital," reduce energy costs and in some cases eliminate and replace programs and services that are no longer effective, he said. While engineers and planners continue to seek ways to reach a net zero operating environment, everyone must look for ways to improve efficiencies in all aspects of Army installation operations. "We have made significant progress in this line of effort, but we still have a considerably long way to go," Lynch said.
While pointing to the ways U.S. installations around the world are incorporating new "greener" methods and technology in construction projects, the commander said it is also important that managers look at future and existing facilities for ways to enhance energy and water efficiency, sustainability and stretch funding. "What are we going to do to make the facilities we already have good enough' ... Can we build buildings with the express purpose of making them multipurpose facilities'
"When I took command of IMCOM I said we had too many regions and people," Lynch pointed out, explaining that the result has been consolidating regions, merging IMCOM Headquarters with the Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command by this June and continuing efforts to refine the force structure.
"Our mission is to provide Soldiers, civilians and their families with a quality of life commensurate with the quality of their service," added IMCOM's senior leader. This means ensuring that as Soldiers, civilians and their families move from one installation to another they are guaranteed of finding a similar quality of life - improving service predictability and delivery.
It is also important that IMCOM leaders and installation managers "engage senior commanders and talk to them about fiscal responsibility," Lynch said.
Hundreds of managers and directors from around the installation management community converged on San Antonio for the weeklong conference to hear senior leaders describe challenges facing the military, to take part in professional development sessions and to get a look at some of the latest services, support and technology available in the industry.
"We owe it to you to develop you," said Lynch, describing efforts to enhance professionalism across IMCOM. "We have to do better at talent management. ... We can't do what we do without talented professionals like you."
Lynch asked participants to "take that knowledge back and share that knowledge. ... They want to know what you've learned."
"You have done great things and will continue to do great things," said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.
Hammack was on hand to help recognize outstanding achievements by individuals and teams throughout the installation management community during the conference.
"We designed this week to also recognize the people," said Lynch.
Besides honoring the Army's Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year (both military policemen serving in U.S. Army Europe), Safety, Internal Review, Directorate of Public Works, Army environmental efforts, quality of life and sustainability, Army leaders recognized the Army Communities of Excellence, IMCOM Stalwart nominees and outstanding public affairs practitioners.
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden was well represented.
Col. Jeffrey Dill, USAG Wiesbaden commander, was invited on stage to accept the prestigious ACOE Gold Award - the highest honor recognizing a "world class organization providing excellence in installation management." The ACOE award honors the top Army, National Guard and Reserve installations that have achieved a high level of excellence in building a quality environment, outstanding facilities and superior services.
Along with the recognition, the ACOE Gold Award came accompanied by a $1 million cash prize to be used by the garrison to help further enhance quality of life for those who live, work and serve in USAG Wiesbaden.
During the ceremony, Dill was asked to make a few remarks and he praised everyone who contributed to the success of the garrison including those who played a role in the strategic planning process, Army leaders who provided guidance and support, the garrison staff, community members and the city of Wiesbaden's strong involvement and encouragement during ongoing transformation efforts.
The Wiesbaden garrison was also named this year's winner of the 2011 Commander-in-Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence - one of five recipients of the presidential award selected for "their exemplary support of Department of Defense missions."
Garrison leaders were invited to attend an awards ceremony for the Commander-in-Chief's Award for Installation Excellence slated to be held May 4 at the Pentagon.
In a press release from Lord Mayor Helmut MAfA1/4ller, the city leader cited the "phenomenal partnership" shared by members of the garrison and the citizens of Wiesbaden. "There is an especially friendly and trusting relationship between U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden and the state capital Wiesbaden. This recognition makes me very happy for our American friends, and it is also a testament to the extraordinarily good relationship between Wiesbadeners and their American neighbors," said MAfA1/4ller.
Attendees at the symposium had a chance to compare their installation with fellow installations around the globe. A series of displays showcased outstanding efforts throughout IMCOM. Among the various displays was one focusing on individuals recognized for going above and beyond in serving Soldiers, civilians and their families. Wiesbaden Army Community Service Director Jan Meert was one of three nominees from IMCOM-Europe singled out for recognition.
USAG Wiesbaden's commander was again invited up on stage during the final day of the symposium during presentation of the annual Keith L. Ware Awards. USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs earned first place in the Community Relations program category and the Canham-Ross Award for its support of the state of Hessen's project to document and uncover historical archaeological finds in the area of the new Wiesbaden Army Airfield South Housing.
As Lynch summed up the weeklong symposium during the final session, thanking those in attendance for their dedication and support, he told his listeners, "We in the installation management community will continue to do what we can to improve Soldier and family quality of life."