Fort McCoy’s long-standing Annual Training Conference, formerly known as
the “Pre-Camp Conference,” has been eliminated. This is the result of
one of Fort McCoy’s Lean Six Sigma projects, which was recently
There were various reasons for eliminating the conference.
The procedure of how units decide where to train has changed over the
years, said Steve Shanks, the Chief of the Training Division for the
Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS).
Previously, many units in the local geographic area would choose Fort
McCoy for their extended combat training location. As times changed,
these units became part of large training exercises, and the training
location decision was no longer made at the unit level.
To ensure necessary coordination and communication between customers and
Fort McCoy personnel, training-exercise-specific conferences are
conducted by exercise planners at locations convenient to all parties.
Fort McCoy provides customer-specific support as necessary.
In addition, much of the information units need to prepare for training
at Fort McCoy is now available on the Fort McCoy public Web site at
or through the Fort McCoy Extranet, which is accessible
through the public Web site.
Shanks said unit personnel can complete required briefings/training for
range safety and the use of Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System
equipment, for example, online at their home stations. Units now have
access to Fort McCoy information 24/7 from any computer. In the past,
this information was only available during the conference.
Because of the timing of the exercises, it wasn’t feasible to hold the
conference at Fort McCoy at any time other than the winter months,
Shanks said. Fall was too soon to meet the units’ needs, and the spring
was too late and too close to when the exercises needed to have final
Holding the conference in the winter presented logistical problems.
Inclement weather often discouraged attendance or encouraged attendees
to leave early, said Mark Stelzner, DPTMS Range Scheduler. Often the
appropriate unit personnel could not attend the conference, making
additional coordination necessary.
The recommendation to eliminate the conference was one of several
approved as a result of Fort McCoy’s first LSS Black Belt project,
Customer Training Support Request Process. The project team was headed
by Steve Shanks and facilitated by Kathy Peterson, from the Fort McCoy
Plans, Analysis and Integration Office (PAIO).
One of the most important changes was improvements made to the Fort
McCoy Training Support Request Form (Form 38). The Form 38 was combined
with the Fort McCoy Form 38A, which allows customers to request all
training support to include range scheduling in one easy-to-use form.
The form includes detailed instructions for form completion, links to
referenced materials, points of contact information, and many drop-down
menu options, which makes it easier and more accurate for customers to
The revised form was tested as part of the project pilot program with
various customers. The team estimated that the new form and improved
process reduced processing time by about 47 percent. Customer
satisfaction is always important and the initial response from customers
on the new form was very positive, Stelzner said.
Another major change was the submission and distribution methodology. As
a result of the project, the form now must be electronically signed by
the commander and e-mailed to the Scheduling Section. Also,
administrative e-mail accounts were set up within two directorates; this
ensures that when the Form 38 is electronically sent from the Scheduling
Section it will go to multiple employees for immediate action.
The electronic distribution also provides tracking for all parties. This
further reduces processing time.
Third, the team revised the customer confirmation letter and more
emphasis is placed on communication with the customer to confirm the
resources required to support their training prior to their arrival.
These efforts help ensure Fort McCoy customers receive the best-possible
training support with fewer changes or modifications made at the last
Finally, the team reviewed and updated the Standing Operating Procedure
and associated documentation, which helps ensure process consistency.
The entire process will be re-examined periodically as required by LSS
principles and guidance.
“We’re always receptive to units’ requests,” Stelzner said. “With our
training facilities, ranges and support personnel, we want to make Fort
McCoy the choice destination for any military training.”
For more information about training opportunities at Fort McCoy, call
the Range Scheduling Section at 608-388-3721/3713/5313.
For more information on Fort McCoy’s Lean Six Sigma Program, contact
Peterson, PAIO, at 608-388-2003 or e-mail at