|By Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, Commanding General,
Installation Management Command
ARLINGTON, Va. — As Commanding
General of Installation Management Command (IMCOM), the Assistant Chief
of Staff for Installation Management and the co-chair of the Services
and Infrastructure Core Enterprise, my installation management and
safety responsibilities extend beyond the boundaries of IMCOM.
My Commander’s Intent is to provide the facilities, programs and
services required to support Army readiness, sustain the all-volunteer
force and provide the infrastructure for current and future mission
requirements. Safety is key to accomplishing my intent. It involves the
prevention of material loss, but the focus is really on saving lives.
Each loss, whether in combat or in the garrison, has an impact on our
In September I spoke at the Army Senior Safety Tactical Symposium. It
was my opportunity to say “thank you” to almost 500 safety professionals
for the work they do to keep Soldiers, Civilians and Families safe.
Their work impacts the conditions in which we train, work, live and
play, both on duty and off duty. This includes driver training, home
safety, child and Family safety, weather conditions assessment, fire
prevention, hazardous material handling, and weapons and range safety,
to name just a few ways in which their work touches our daily lives.
I thanked them for their continuing diligence, their continuing efforts
to monitor trends and address issues to prevent loss. A recent example
was a six-month Armywide fire safety campaign in 2009. The campaign was
launched to reverse the increasing number of military housing and
facility fires, and succeeded in netting more than $20 million in cost
avoidance in the second half of the year. An ongoing example is a motor
vehicle and motorcycle traffic safety program that is contributing to a
downward trend in accident fatalities. We are at the lowest level in
more than seven years, and other military services are looking at our
So we can point to examples of how our Safety Program is working.
However, as I said to the safety professionals, for whose work I am
truly grateful, we can never become complacent or act as if what we are
doing is good enough, as long as we are still losing lives through
senseless, preventable accidents.
Everyone is a safety officer. Everyone has an obligation to look out for
themselves and the Soldiers, Civilians and Families around them. The
requirements are in place — we have The Army Safety Program, Army
Regulation 385-10 and IMCOM’s Safety Program Regulation — so we need to
make sure we act on them.
In order to improve our safety efforts, there are six things I ask us
all to consider:
First, we will not cut corners or funds to save money at the expense of
our Safety Program. It is fundamentally unwise to do so.
Why would we want to negatively affect a program that saves lives?
Rather than cutting corners to save money, we should put money toward
the right resources in order to improve the Safety Program. In doing so,
we will have a positive impact in keeping the Army Family intact.
Second, when we allocate resources for Safety Programs, we need to make
sure to reach all members of the Army Family, not just active-duty
Soldiers. Funds need to be allocated for our Safety Programs to reach
Soldiers of all components, retirees, Civilians and all their Families.
Only by reaching every member of our communities can we instill a
culture that puts safety first — a culture that protects our Army
Family and keeps the Army mission ready.
Third, everyone must support the Senior Commanders as they are
responsible for the life of every Soldier, Civilian and Family member on
their installation. Everyone must embrace the Safety Program and be
actively involved. While the Commander is the one ultimately responsible
for mission accomplishment and the safety of people and resources
assigned to him or her, all of us must know the Safety Program and carry
it out to standard. The Safety Program is the Commander’s program and
all of us are safety officers.
Fourth, I have been a motorcycle driver my entire adult life and have
never had a motorcycle accident. I firmly believe that it is not a
matter of luck, but preparation. I drive my motorcycle only if I have
the right frame of mind, the right protective equipment and a planned
Many people label motorcycles as unsafe. However, it is not the
motorcycle that is unsafe, it is the driver. That is why leaders need to
make sure the appropriate safety training is available prior to a new
rider driving a motorcycle. It is not smart for an untrained motorcycle
driver to drive his or her new motorcycle on post in order to learn how
to operate it properly.
Motorcycle driving simulators are necessary and should be made available
at every IMCOM installation.
Fifth, the Installation Management Campaign Plan (IMCP) 2.0 is being
launched this month at the Garrison Commanders’ Conference in San
Antonio. The plan’s Line of Effort (LOE) on Safety charges commanders
and other leaders to lead the way in changing behavior to prevent
accidents, and to empower Soldiers, Civilians and Families at all levels
to speak up when they see someone ignoring safety rules or doing
something risky. Safety is everyone’s business, and it is our
responsibility to ensure safe performance in all we do. Everyone will be
held accountable for accident prevention. The LOE calls for providing
effective Privately Owned Vehicle safety programs; heightening safety
awareness; employing hazard control measures; requiring and promoting
safe, healthy practices; and support for the senior commander.
Sixth, I challenge all of you to look at the IMCP’s Safety LOE and ask
yourselves, “What are we missing?” I often mention the 80-percent
solution as being good enough to proceed, but this LOE is an instance
when we need to keep aiming for 100 percent.
We cannot be satisfied as long as we have a single accident. If safety
requirements are not adequate, we will improve them. If we are doing
something ineffective out there, we will stop. But if no one tells me,
we cannot correct the issue. I need your input.
When we think about the Safety Program, we should not focus on saving
money. We should not concentrate our efforts on finding different ways
to reduce costs, but on how to make our Safety Program better. It is
about saving the lives of our Army Family. That is the passion every
individual must pursue. When you practice safety and teach others about
safety, you are saving lives — and I cannot think of a higher calling.