Depot conducts sustainability workshop
At the Anniston City Meeting Center, the depot's deputy to the commander, Jack Cline (second from left), greets Betsy Bean (right), Spirit of Anniston's executive director, at the Feb. 12 sustainability workshop. Mary Frances Smith (far left) and Cha... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

If Anniston Army Depot, Ala., plans to maintain its current mission of equipping the warfighter, acquire new work for post-war operations and remain a competitive entity, it must create a sustainable culture.

That's what depot and community representatives considered last week when they began to set metrics to achieve its sustainability goals. The same plan calls for preserving environmental resources and other items the depot is not currently conserving or reusing.

The depot hosted a workshop Feb. 12-14 at the Anniston City Meeting Center where industry and community leaders participated in an initiative to carry out the Army's sustainability plan. The intent is to incorporate sustainable actions into the depot's overall strategic plan.

Installation sustainability, as the Army defines it, is having the resources-environment, materiel and community support-needed to support the Soldiers now and in the future.

Encroachment, lost productivity and loss of resources are all threats to sustainability.

Representatives from various depot activities met last summer during the first sustainability workshop to determine its current level of sustainability and formally address the concerns that affect not only the Army's mission but the quality of life for everyone.

The sustainability goals set at last week's meeting are intended to carry the installation into 2033. Last year's workshop resulted in the need for goals to be set in four challenge areas: competition in the marketplace, industrial optimization, infrastructure flexibility, and the procurement of sustainable products and services.

Workshop attendees met in break-out groups to address these four challenges and to develop more specific goals and action items that will help the depot overcome its threats.

Where to go from here

The depot began as an Army ordnance depot in 1940 and now has a world-class vehicle and equipment maintenance mission employing more than 6,900 people.

ANAD provides industrial and technological support for current and future combat systems and is home to the only Department of Defense small arms repair facility. Nearly 2,000 combat vehicles roll out the depot's gate each year. And there are about 52,000 small arms and other pieces of mission-essential equipment that follow suit.

"To conduct our operations, the installation has all the same services as a small city," said Jack Cline, deputy to the commander. "These sustainability efforts give us an opportunity to involve the community as we perform our mission because it does have an impact on everyone in the surrounding area, not just our government workers."

Anniston is the first maintenance depot within the Army Materiel Command to chart a map for sustainability, according to Ann Worrell, the depot's director of risk management.

After the war, there will be a period of reconstruction to the fleet of combat vehicles. "We must sustain the operational tempo to support the Soldiers now and throughout their post-war operations," said Cline.

Construction and mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has a plan to carry sustainable metrics into 2020. Caterpillar's Robert Wojda, keynote speaker at the workshop, presented his employer's internal line of thinking in its sustainable development process: data, strategy, communication and, lastly, triple bottom line performance.

Wojda said the depot has the opportunity in its pursuit of a sustainability plan to view its challenges as unmet market needs. He said sustainable development was a "common sense approach to business."

"Sustainable development is really nothing new," said Wojda, "just a new way of thinking."

With more than 110,000 employees in 40 countries, Caterpillar said it found a way to balance business, society and the environment by implementing sustainable development within everything it does.

Army sustainability application

The Army has applied sustainability at troop and National Guard installations such as Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Indiantown Gap, Penn., respectively.

"We have learned over the past decades that simply complying with environmental regulations will not ensure that we will be able to sustain our mission. We must strive to become systems thinkers if we are to benefit from the interrelationships of the triple bottom line," according to the Army's sustainability website.

Mission, environment and community are a part of what the Army calls the triple bottom line in carrying out its plan.

Rising costs, mission constraints, and degradation of air, land and water are just a few of the concerns addressed by installations like ANAD, said Manette Messenger from the Installation Management Command at Fort McPherson, Ga.

Workshop participants acknowledged the depot's threats to sustainability and developed ways to minimize, eliminate or work beyond them.

The competitive edge goal-setting team set metrics for public-private partnering that will sustain the existing workforce. The depot already has more than 20 existing partnerships with defense contractors like BAE Systems and General Dynamics.

Those who focused on procurement said the depot needs to influence weapons system design and development and then utilize performance-based contracting to harness the resources we buy and use. This team wants to see more waste-to-energy conversion.

Depot infrastructure can be sustained through improved intra-depot movement of supplies and services. One goal that will aid in sustaining the depot is the conversion of existing structures to flexible and adaptable facilities.

The industrial team said the depot needs to use best achievable technology, or BAT, to optimize the depot mission in a cost effective way while minimizing the environmental footprint. This team said the main goal should be to implement a sustainable culture throughout the depot community in order to accomplish everything else in the plan.

"Charts are just charts. They don't mean anything if you don't do what's on them," said Franky Shulch, process optimization manager for the depot's cleaning, finishing and fabrication value stream. "And it starts with the managers and supervisors."