By Russell A Wicke, IMCOMOctober 4, 2011
YONGSAN GARRISON, Korea, Oct. 4, 2011 -- The U.S. Army Installation Management Command demonstrated its commitment to efficient operations and a leaner Army when it merged two region commands Sept. 30.
The operation, known as the Pacific-Korea Integration, successfully integrated IMCOM-Korea into IMCOM-Pacific, headquartered at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. IMCOM-Korea was headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, where its deactivation ceremony was held.
Until the integration, Pacific Region under the leadership of Debra Zedalis, oversaw installation operations of six garrisons distributed across Hawaii, Alaska and Japan. After integrating the Korea Region, IMCOM-Pacific absorbed five more garrisons in Korea, including Red Cloud, Yongsan, Humphreys, Daegu and Camp Casey along with forward operating locations on the peninsula.
Brig. Gen. David Fox and Command Sgt. Major David Abbot formed IMCOM-Korea's final command team. Together, they oversaw support operations during several historic events, including the unprovoked sinking of the Cheonan naval vessel; the G20 gathering in Seoul; President Barack Obama's Veterans Day speech at USAG Garrison Yongsan; and the North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong Island, all of which occurred in 2010.
IMCOM-Korea's history goes back to October 2002 when the Installation Management Agency was formed.
Fox led the IMCOM-K deactivation efforts, which included the sensitive mission to inform and assist in finding employment for more than 300 personnel who faced potential displacement.
"There is a whole staff of people, including leaders, dedicated to ensuring IMCOM-Korea's employees have the most agreeable employment possible after the integration," said Fox. "We have, and are continuing to develop a comprehensive [human resources] plan that goes far into ensuring each person's employment preference is met with reasonable success."
Fox also said his efforts focused on supporting Zedalis and IMCOM-Pacific to continue providing high quality service to organizations that depend on IMCOM in Korea and the Pacific.
"From the very beginning, Korea and Pacific Region have been in constant communication laying the groundwork for how to execute [the Pacific-Korea Integration]," he said. "IMCOM is committed to the same quality service whether that service originates from Korea or Hawaii."
Although the Korea Region makes up a small geographic area, the responsibility involved in operations here are large and disproportionate to its size.
"Korea is on the front line of U.S. interests in Asia," said Fox in his speech at the deactivation ceremony. "It's a region of growing importance. The real threat of conflict with North Korea is always present and our alliance with South Korea is critical to deterring that threat."
At the ceremony, Fox expressed his confidence that Zedalis and her team in the Pacific Region are ready and committed to the high standards needed to run installations in Korea.
The decision to integrate the two regions stemmed from an overall effort to make the Army more efficient and lean during the current hard economic realities.
"Tough choices have to be made," said Thomas Lamont, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, "but we'll make them in a thoughtful and deliberate manner that best supports the Army's mission."
Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of IMCOM, said repositioning several major commands "will save millions in personnel and facilities costs and is needed to put the Army on the path to future sustainability."
Both Fox and Zedalis confirmed that the standards of IMCOM remain strong throughout the entire Pacific area. The mission to provide Soldiers, civilians and their families a quality of life commensurate with the quality of their service is a top priority.