[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     January 28, 2011

Chesser communicates priorities to garrison work force

Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser used his annual garrison work force briefing to communicate the garrison’s mission, strategic vision, recent accomplishments, current and future operations, and operational priorities.

That included a review of 2010 accomplishments and where the installation is headed, including its ongoing modernization efforts, training and customer support, organization transformation, challenges, and priorities.
PHOTO: Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser emphasizes a point during the annual garrison work force briefing. Two sessions were held Jan. 20 at the  88th Regional Support Command auditorium. Photo by Allan Harding
Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser emphasizes a point during the annual garrison work force briefing. Two sessions were held Jan. 20 at the 88th Regional Support Command auditorium. (Photo by Allan Harding)

“Your presence today provides me an opportunity to inform you about Fort McCoy’s current and future operations,” Chesser said. “At the conclusion of the presentation you’re going to better understand commander’s intent and the direction we’re headed, and, as a result, you will be better prepared to do your job.”

Chesser began the presentation by reviewing the Garrison’s 2011-2015 Strategic Business Plan. “Our mission and motto remain the same. Our mission is to underpin the readiness of the force by serving as a training center and a support site for power-projection missions. And our motto is to serve as a Total Force Training Center,” Chesser said. “We will accomplish our mission by supporting training for all service branches, as well as other federal, state and local agencies.”

“It’s the best Strategic Business Plan I have seen in my twenty-eight years of service,” Chesser said. “The credit goes to the Deputy to the Garrison Commander, Mr. Al Fournier, and Mr. Neal MacCallum, chief of the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office.”

The new plan focuses heavily on modernization of Fort McCoy’s infrastructure, he said.

When Chesser took command in April 2008, Fort McCoy had fewer than 2,000 renovated bed spaces to house servicemembers training on the installation. As a result, servicemembers were frequently housed in non-renovated barracks in substandard conditions.

Chesser accoladed the Directorate of Public Works staff for acquiring and executing record levels of sustainment, renovation and modernization funding over the last three years. “Because of their efforts the installation now has the capability to house up to 9,400 servicemembers in modernized barracks, and we’re well on the way to achieving our goal of being able to house 10,000 servicemembers simultaneously in renovated barracks,” Chesser said.

The installation has also been aggressive in updating or building other infrastructure needed to support Soldiers, such as arms vaults, administrative buildings, laundry, dining and maintenance facilities, he said.

Range-modernization projects also have  been a focal point over the last three years. “We have embraced the adage — if you build it they will come,” Chesser said. “We recognize that our center of gravity is training, and as such, our ranges and training areas are what attract customers, the servicemembers and units that come here to train. The Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security has done a superb job of modernizing our ranges and training areas. Our customers are now routinely telling us our ranges are the best in the Army.”

“We will continue to aggressively seek the funding we need to modernize our training infrastructure,” he said.

A good example is the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility, currently under construction on South Post. Chesser said the $14 million facility, which is designed to support combat training in urbanized terrain, will be a significant addition to the post's training capability.

PHOTO: Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser talks about the Strategic Business Plan at the garrison briefing to the work force. Photo by Allan Harding
Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser talks about the Strategic Business Plan at the garrison briefing to the work force. (Photo by Allan Harding)

This puts Fort McCoy in “rare air,” and increases its strategic relevancy to the Army, Chesser said.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 training total was 111,348 personnel, marking the 26th consecutive year Fort McCoy surpassed the 100,000-troops-trained mark. Chesser said Fort McCoy is well positioned to continue that run as seven major U.S. Army Reserve training exercises and other exercises are scheduled for FY 2011.

Training exercises at Fort McCoy are projected to increase from a total training population of 10,786 personnel in FY 2010 to a projected 14,000 in FY 2011, to 21,000 in FY 2012, and to 26,000 in FYs 2013 and 2014.

The increased training load associated with exercises will help to offset the numbers lost when Fort McCoy’s mobilization mission ceases in October, Chesser said. In FY 2010, Fort McCoy supported the largest reserve-component mobilization mission in the country.

“As a Mobilization Training Center (MTC) we supported the deployment or redeployment of 19,600 servicemembers for Overseas Contingency Operations,” Chesser said. “This effort included 10,973 mobilizing servicemembers, accounting for 19 percent of nearly 60,000 reserve-component Soldiers mobilized in FY 2011. Our load for FY 2011 is projected to be about 15,000 servicemembers, ranking us as the third busiest MTC. “

Chesser said First Army cannot sustain 10 active MTCs and plans to cut back to five or six. Thus, Fort McCoy is standing down as an active MTC, effective Oct. 1.

Plans for the stand down have been developed and soon will be communicated to the staff through publication of an Operations Order, he said.

Chesser used the briefing to announce the results of the recent Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Campaign Plan Employee Assessment (CPEA). He stated Fort McCoy achieved a score of 80.4 as compared to the IMCOM Northeast Region garrison average of 69.8. “The score ranked us as one of the best installations in the region and within IMCOM.”

Chesser attributed the outstanding results to the garrison’s strategic-planning efforts and the quality and commitment of the work force.

“Fort McCoy is an outstanding installation because we have a very knowledgeable work force,” Chesser said. “I hand out an amazing number of 20-, 25-, 30-, 35- and 40-year Active Federal Service certificates, certainly more than I ever envisioned I would. That’s an obvious indicator that we have a very experienced work force. Our folks know how the Army operates and more importantly how Army systems operate and they know how to use these systems to acquire the resources we need to realize our strategic vision,” Chesser said.

Chesser commended the work force for taking the CPEA survey seriously and providing such positive feedback. He stated the outstanding results have positioned the installation to compete favorably in the Army Communities of Excellence competition.

Fort McCoy originally was  scheduled to compete in the Army Reserve category of the ACOE competition, but garrison leaders convinced the Army to let the installation compete in the overall Army Installation category, he said. Chesser said the installation also is competing for the prestigious Deployment Excellence Award and is the Installation Management Command nominee for the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence in the “Medium Category.” Fort McCoy won this competition last year.

Near-term major construction projects include a new facility for the Network Enterprise Center and a Child and Youth Service Center. Construction on both projects is expected to begin this spring. Additionally, construction of eight new Army Family Housing units will begin this spring on South Post.

Chesser noted that a number of other projects to support training and quality of life have been identified, but will depend on funding availability.

A key component of Fort McCoy’s Strategic Business Plan is the enhancement of the installation’s military value through land-use initiatives.

Chesser announced that the Monroe County Board recently approved McCoy’s request to conduct a Joint Land Use Study to determine how Fort McCoy and Monroe County can develop a compatible-use buffer zone around the installation’s boundary to mitigate smoke, noise and commercial development encroachment issues. This will help ensure units coming to Fort McCoy can accomplish their training missions and minimize effects to surrounding communities.

Chesser concluded the presentation with a review of the challenges the garrison likely will face while providing Base Operations support during an extremely busy summer. He also reminded the audience that McCoy’s priorities, as established by its Senior Commander, Maj. Gen. Glenn Lesniak, remain protection of the force, execution of the Mobilization Training Center mission, execution of the Army Reserve Training Strategy, delivery of the Army Family and Community Covenants and continual modernization of the installation.

The briefing will be shown on Fort McCoy TV-6. Consult the Fort McCoy Corporate Network for scheduled airings.

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