Like many others this time of year, I have been reflecting on the past 12 months and looking forward to the new year. In my professional capacity, I am focusing on the future of the Installation Management community. Specifically, I’ve been asking myself: “What should the Installation Management community look like a year from now?”
I have been asking this question of Installation Management personnel during meetings, town halls, and garrison visits. I have also been seeking feedback from Soldiers, families and leaders.
This feedback is critical because everything we do is focused on providing Soldiers and families the programs, services and facilities that support their well-being, resilience and readiness.
I urge everyone to continue to send me solid ideas that help answer three fundamental questions: Are we doing the right things? Are we doing things right? What are we missing?
I am meeting with senior Installation Management community leaders this month to develop a shared vision for next year, based on all of this input. Once we have a shared vision of what “right” looks like, we can figure out how to get there from here.
We started 2010 by producing version one of the Installation Management Campaign Plan. The campaign plan laid out a vision, strategy and way ahead for providing the programs, services and facilities that support Soldiers and families. With the campaign plan and the three fundamental questions as our guides, we have continually challenged ourselves to improve our performance.
Some of our efforts are visible to those we serve. For example, based on feedback from Soldiers and families, we have enhanced delivery of several vital programs, including the Exceptional Family Member Program, Survivor Outreach Services, the Total Army Sponsorship Program, the Army Substance Abuse Program and the Army Continuing Education System.
Many of our efforts will not be immediately apparent to those outside of our workforce. For example, we are reducing the number of administrative regions from six to four and integrating the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command into IMCOM Headquarters. Soldiers and families will see no difference in the quality of support or number of services they receive, but behind the scenes, we will be working smarter. We will streamline the delivery of services to our customers and generate savings that can be applied to Soldier and family programs.
As we build a shared vision of what the Installation Management community should look like and lay out the plan to achieve that vision, we will continue to challenge ourselves to go beyond what we already know and are comfortable with. We will continue to look at the shape and size of our organization and workforce. We will continue to reach out and build relationships with others committed to supporting Soldiers and families, including universities, businesses, non-government organizations, and other government agencies.
The process of developing a shared vision is important for us to do if we take our jobs seriously. For one, we owe it to our fellow citizens to be good stewards of all the resources entrusted to us. We always have to be mindful of how we impact the environment, how we treat our people and how we spend taxpayer dollars.
An even more important reason to develop this vision is to better provide a strong, supportive environment in which Soldiers and their families can thrive. If the only reason we do something is because we have always done it that way, then we can do better. We owe it to our Soldiers and families to ask what “right” looks like and make sure we are on track to get there.