[ The Real McCoy Online Home

 February 12, 2010


Garrison commander addresses work force

Fort McCoy had a very good 2009 and is well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities in 2010 and beyond, said Col. David E. Chesser at the Garrison Commander’s Work Force Briefing sessions conducted Jan. 21.

Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser addresses the audience during a Garrison Commander’s Work Force Briefing session Jan. 21 at Fort McCoy. Photo by Val Hyde
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser addresses the audience during a Garrison Commander’s Work Force Briefing session Jan. 21 at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Val Hyde)

“When I briefed you last year, I shared a quote from Major General Sholar, our Senior Commander at the time, who said the value of Fort McCoy’s stock had never been higher,” Chesser said. “Well, I’m here today to tell you the value of our stock is even higher.”

External organizations, including the Installation Management Command (IMCOM), are noticing the good work Fort McCoy does, he said.

Earlier this year, Chesser briefed Russell Hall, Regional Director at IMCOM-Northeast, which is Fort McCoy’s higher headquarters.

“IMCOM-Northeast is extremely pleased with Fort McCoy because we’re getting the job done,” Chesser said. “We’ve proven to be very efficient at what we do, and that’s earned their respect.”

Chesser quoted Hall as saying, “Fort McCoy has excelled at the strategic planning process and installation master planning, whereas most installations do not. Because of this, and your demonstrated ability to communicate your requirements and execute funds efficiently on the right projects, you have been the beneficiary of tremendous supplemental funding.”


Organizational Self-Assessment

Chesser used the Work Force Briefing to review the results of the garrison’s May 2009 Organizational Self-Assessment (OSA). He reported that the 2007 OSA highlighted the need to improve leadership communication.   

“That’s why we’re here today,” he said. “I recognized the need to more-effectively communicate the performance goals to you and provide feedback on how we’re doing.  At the end of last year’s briefing I asked you to help me move that ‘x’ (score), and you listened.”

A record number of garrison personnel — 380 or 47 percent — completed the 2009 OSA. IMCOM-Northeast officials noted it was the highest level of participation in the region, according to the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office (PAIO).

The 2009 assessment showed a tremendous improvement from 2007 in all six categories of the Baldrige criteria, which corporate America uses to judge organizational effectiveness. The results provided the garrison leadership the statistically relevant data needed to make improvements.

The 2010 OSA will occur in the April-May time frame, according to the PAIO, and Chesser again encouraged garrison employees to participate and provide feedback.


Strategic Planning

Chesser used the briefing to further educate the work force on the garrison’s strategic planning process. He explained that every five years, the garrison leadership completes a detailed strategic planning process consisting of four planning sessions or phases. The first phase was completed in December 2009 and the remaining three phases will be completed by May 2010.

The outcome of the planning process will be a published strategic business plan for the garrison consisting of a mission and vision statement, values, organizational beliefs, and supporting strategic objectives, action plans and performance goals. “Just as the 2005 strategic business plan served as a guide to our future, the 2010 strategic business plan will ensure Fort McCoy’s relevancy to the Army and Army Reserve for the next five years,” Chesser said.

Fort McCoy is fulfilling its mission to underpin readiness of the force by serving as a training center and a support site for power-projection missions. The same is true for its vision to be the premier training center and force-projection site of choice for America’s Defense Forces, especially if the words “reserve component” are added, he said.

Compared to other installations that primarily support reserve-component training, Fort McCoy has more support facilities, ranges and training areas, which equates to more troop training capability. “Our tremendous capabilities combined with our understanding of reserve-component forces and our willingness to support their requirements make us a premier training site for reserve units. I believe we are the ‘Crown Jewel’ of reserve-component installations,” he said. “… I think we’re going to see more and more reserve-component forces coming here in the future.”

Chesser highlighted the garrison’s current strategic objectives, which have played a key role over the last five years in helping Fort McCoy achieve its vision:

• Modernize the installation infrastructure. Fort McCoy executed a record $63.8 million in sustainment, renovation and modernization funding in 2009 resulting in tremendous modernization of the installation’s infrastructure.

• Pursue land-use initiatives that enhance Fort McCoy’s military value. During 2009, Fort McCoy coordinated with the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to conduct a Joint Land Use Study in conjunction with state and local government. The goal of the study is to help landowners on the installation’s borders understand the importance of protecting Fort McCoy from encroachment that may lead to its future closure.  

• Maintain and expand Fort McCoy’s customer base consistent with the installation’s vision. “‘If we build it, they will come.’ If our facilities provide for a high quality of life for the forces training here and if our ranges are second to none — there will be no need to market ourselves,” he said. “Soldiers and units will seek out Fort McCoy as the best place to train.”

• Obtain additional funding through new and alternate means. Chesser said the record level of construction last year was a direct byproduct of receiving $45.1 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or stimulus funding. Fort McCoy received stimulus funding because of excellent strategic and master planning. When the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management contacted Fort McCoy in late 2008 and asked the installation to nominate projects for stimulus funding, the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) immediately provided $90 million in well-documented requirements that simply needed funding to proceed.

• Provide well-being programs that foster a sense of installation community. Five years ago Fort McCoy developed plans to deliver programs and services that provide a higher quality of life on the installation. “It’s now called the Army Family Covenant, and we remain committed to its implementation,” he said.


2009 – The Year in Review

Fiscal Year 2009 (FY 09) marked the 25th consecutive year that Fort McCoy supported the training of more than 100,000 Soldiers annually. More than 105,000 servicemembers trained at Fort McCoy this past year, including 18,459 servicemembers who mobilized or demobilized here. 

The garrison earned numerous honors during 2009. These included being named an Army Communities of Excellence “Most Improved” installation in April 2009, selection as the IMCOM - Northeast Connelly Award winner for best small dining facility operation, and selection by IMCOM – Northeast to compete for the Army Maintenance Excellence Award. These honors are testament to the outstanding efforts of the garrison work force.  

As previously mentioned, 2009 was a record year for construction on Fort McCoy.  “Not since the cantonment area was constructed in 1942 at a cost of $30 million have we seen this level of construction funding,” Chesser said. The large influx of stimulus funding allowed Fort McCoy to renovate 31 barracks, or 1,550 bed spaces, bringing the installation’s total renovated bed-space count to more than 6,900 beds. Along with the barracks, Fort McCoy renovated company administrative and dining facilities and constructed new maintenance, laundry and arms vault facilities. “Our goal remains to provide adequate barracks and associated support facilities for up to 10,000 Soldiers,” he said. “Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the DPW staff, Fort McCoy will achieve a 9,000 renovated bed-space capacity by the end of the calendar year. That’s a significant improvement in quality of life on the installation for training troops.”

Chesser said the installation is also working hard to improve life for the Soldiers and civilians who live and work on the installation through delivery of the Army Family Covenant. A new $4.8 million Child Development Center opened in August 2009, increasing the installation’s childcare capacity by 30 percent. Construction will begin this spring on a new $7 million Youth Services Center that greatly will expand youth programs and services on the installation. Construction also will begin this spring on 33 new Army Family Housing units on South Post. Additionally, the garrison’s initiative to construct a 100-room hotel on the installation through a public/private venture remains on track for possible construction in FY 11.


2010 — The Road Ahead

New A-76 Competitive Sourcing Studies (public/private-sector competitions) or Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions are not expected in the foreseeable future, Chesser said. The 88th Regional Support Command has completed its move here under a BRAC 2005 action.  Additional alignments involving the 84th Training Command and the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center are expected to be completed in 2011. 

Chesser announced that as Fort McCoy approaches the completion of its barracks renovation effort, the focus will turn to planning for the renovation or construction of support facilities such as a new community activity center to further improve the quality of life at Fort McCoy.

“What have all the improvements bought us? A tremendously high customer satisfaction rating,” Chesser said, noting that Soldiers completing exit surveys consistently rate the installation’s support facilities (barracks, laundry facilities, etc.) at 4.5 to 4.7 (on a five-point scale).

A 2003 Department of the Army housing market analysis determined that Fort McCoy needed 137 Army Family Housing units for personnel who live on post in support of the installation’s mission.  However, currently there are only 25 homes on South Post.  The planned construction of 33 more homes in 2010 will increase the number of homes on post to 58 and leave a requirement for 79 more. “We will continue to work with IMCOM to secure funding for additional homes,” Chesser said.

The installation currently leases 80 homes in Tomah under a congressionally authorized 801 Lease Program. These homes help the installation fulfill the additional 79 Army Family Housing unit requirement. However, the 801 Lease expires in 2012 and an extension of this program is not authorized. The installation currently is working with IMCOM and the Army Corps of Engineers to coordinate a commercial lease until funding is available to construct additional homes on South Post.

Numerous construction projects currently under way or programmed to begin within the next few years will impact operations on the installation.

The installation recently completed renovation of a large part of the 800 Block.  These facilities will serve as the 86th Training Brigade Headquarters. The 86th Training Brigade will assume responsibility for pre-mobilization collective training of battalion- and brigade-sized units at Fort McCoy effective September 2010. The unit will serve as the Operations Group for the Combat Support Training Center (CSTC) capability that will stand up at Fort McCoy over the next several years. The CSTC will transform Fort McCoy into a Combat Training Center specifically designed to support the training of combat- support and combat-service-support units. Fort McCoy will be similar to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, which supports combat arms training.

As a CSTC, the installation may be called upon, eventually, to train in excess of 10,000 Soldiers annually. This additional flow of forces through the installation will provide a backfill for the expected loss of the mobilization/demobilization mission as First Army relocates the 181st Infantry Brigade, which coordinates mobilization training at Fort McCoy, to Fort Lewis, Wash., in 2011.

Buildings 649 and 650 are being renovated to serve as a headquarters facility for Regional Training Center-Central, which conducts individual task pre-mobilization training for approximately 8,000 Soldiers annually at Fort McCoy.

In addition to ongoing renovation efforts, several major military construction projects are on the Fiscal Year Defense Plan for construction at Fort McCoy over the next five years. These projects include a Network Enterprise Center (Directorate of Information Management) facility in 2010, an NCO Academy classroom and Annual Training barracks in 2011, a Container Loading Facility and Rail Loading Complex in 2012, a new Access Control Point and Mail/Freight Facility and Central Issue Facility in 2013, and an administrative complex for the Resource Management Office, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Office, Directorate of Logistics and Directorate of Public Works in 2014.

Chesser said the Army Reserve is very happy with the installation’s support. The fact that the Army Reserve continues to execute its major training exercises, such as Patriot Warrior and Red Dragon, at Fort McCoy is evidence of their satisfaction. 

“So the moral of the story is that we have built it, our customers like it and they continue to utilize the installation for training,” he said. “This is relevancy to the Department of Defense, the Army and it equates to job security for the work force.”

All of the major Army Reserve exercises conducted at Fort McCoy in 2009 will return in 2010. In addition, the Army Reserve engineer community has decided to conduct Operation Essayons here in 2010. “We expect to see roughly 13,000 Soldiers training on the installation during Diamond Saber, Operation Essayons, Platinum Wrench, Global Medic, Red Dragon, Global Patriot, Patriot Warrior, and Combat Support Training Center exercises,” he said.

Overall funding for 2010 is good, Chesser said, with the exception of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

“We’re facing some challenges as a result of reduced appropriated funding for our MWR programs that may necessitate a reduction in services,” he said. “We’re working with IMCOM in an attempt to identify additional funding. However, if we are unsuccessful, we may be forced to reduce operating hours within some MWR programs.”

The total economic impact of the installation during 2008 was estimated at $1.127 billion — an all-time high for the installation. “Life is good,” Chesser said. “Sparta, Tomah, Black River Falls, Onalaska, West Salem, Bangor, Holmen and La Crosse love Fort McCoy because a lot of dollars are changing hands. We have a huge impact on these local communities. And we’ve got to recognize that, beyond the obvious benefits of our economic impact, it’s in our best interest to abide by the Army Community Covenant charter to be good neighbors.” 

Chesser closed out the briefing by reminding the audience that Fort McCoy’s organizational beliefs — to be customer driven, to focus on results and accountability, to demonstrate quality in what we do, and to strive for continuous improvement — were keys to the installation’s success in 2009, and these same organizational beliefs will remain imperatives to future success.

A video of the briefing will be shown on TV-6. Check the Fort McCoy Corporate Network for the scheduled broadcast times.

[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]