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 July 23, 2010

News

IMCOM command sergeant major visits Fort McCoy

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

The command sergeant major of the Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) visited Fort McCoy July 7-9 to learn more about the installation and hold a town hall meeting.

Command Sgt. Maj. Neil L. Ciotola said he was impressed by what he was told and what he saw.

“It’s amazing what you’ve all got going on here,” Ciotola said.

PHOTO: Command Sgt. Maj. Neil L. Ciotola, Command Sergeant Major of the Installation Management Command, addresses the Fort McCoy work force. Photo by Val Hyde
Command Sgt. Maj. Neil L. Ciotola, Command Sergeant Major of the Installation Management Command, addresses the Fort McCoy work force. Photo by Val Hyde

Ciotola said he and his commanding officer, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, make on-site visits as often as possible to get a first-hand “feel of battle” for the installations assigned to their command. Ciotola said he has visited upward of 40 of IMCOM’s 163 installations.

From his briefing with Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser, Ciotola said he learned Fort McCoy currently has the largest mobilization/demobilization mission in the Army. The installation also has trained more than 100,000 personnel a year for 25 years.

“Do you know what facility possesses the most modern live-fire ranges in the nation — it’s you — Fort McCoy,” he said. “Do you know where you’ll find more World War II wood than on any other U.S. Army installation? It’s Fort McCoy.”

But he said he did realize that by being frugal managers of its resources, Fort McCoy has breathed new life into those facilities. They serve the transient training population well, he added.

“When I asked Colonel Chesser what the secret of McCoy’s success was he said the civilian employees,” he said.

Ciotola said one of the fundamental reasons America’s Army is the best is the selfless service of the officer corps. The officer corps gives the noncommissioned officer (NCO) corps the authority to do its job. NCOs play a unique role in the U.S. Army, and many other countries wish they had an equivalent corps, Ciotola said.

He also agreed with Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey’s statement that the strength of the nation is the U.S. Army. In turn, Ciotola said he believed the strength of the Army is the strength of its Families.

The enduring nature of the Army also owes a debt of gratitude to its civilian employees, he said.

Throughout his 34 years in the Army, the civilian work force of the United States Army was always there. “And they are, in effect, for me, my reference library,” he said.

After the briefing, Ciotola answered questions and talked about the Standard Garrison Organization and replacing a work force that is getting older.

Reductions in the IMCOM work force may be coming as IMCOM is looking at future budget reductions that may be in the 20 percent range by 2012.

Some IMCOM officials took this to mean that the work force should be reduced by 20 percent and made plans accordingly. The first thing Lynch did when he received this news was to start the process over again and say any reductions would not be arbitrary, Ciotola said.

Ciotola said any reductions would be made over time. No DA civilians would lose their jobs, and Soldiers will be included in any reduction, he said.

Ciotola said organizations first must look at what they’re being asked to do.

Reductions may be based, for example, on how many people are assigned to do the work in an organization compared to how many do it in a comparable organization at another installation. Likewise, if organizations are deemed to be efficient and employ their employees economically they may not experience reductions, he said.

The Army has talked about how to replace an aging work force for the last 15 years, he said.

Leaders have acknowledged they have done a poor job recruiting younger people to serve the nation in the civilian service.

Fundamental changes need to be made in the procedures so when older employees retire there are younger employees who can take their place, he said.

It will be a race because it’s not clear how that will happen yet, Ciotola said. The Army may take the direction of going to a more generalized work force.

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