Fort McCoy News Feb. 12, 2016

Garrison commander provides update to workforce

BY AIMEE MALONE
Public Affairs Staff

Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott gave his annual workforce briefing Jan. 27, focusing on the new five-year strategic business plan, Fort McCoy's successes in the past year, and challenges it will face in the future.

Three of five phases have been completed for the 2016-2020 strategic business plan. Phase IV, the next to be reviewed, comprises performance goals, performance measures, and action plans. Most of the performance goals have been reviewed already, Nott said.

The new five-year plan includes updates to the vision statement, strategic objectives, and core competencies.

Photo 1
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott addresses members
of the garrison workforce at the morning briefing session Jan. 27 in building 905.
Photo by Lou Ann M. Mittelstaedt

"We have broadened our vision," Nott said. The vision statement for the 2010-2015 plan focused on the reserve component; the updated vision is "to be the premier Total Force Training Center and power projection installation for America's defense forces."

The number of joint service members of all components, interagency customers, and multinational coalitions training at Fort McCoy is increasing every year, Nott said, and is expected to continue to increase.

Two strategic objectives added to the new plan are:

• attract, retain, and develop a competent, professional workforce.

• ensure Fort McCoy's military value and relevance to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the region are recognized throughout the DOD, regional communities, and among elected officials at all levels as a premier training center of choice.

Fort McCoy's core competencies were revised to include expanding its outreach to joint, interagency, and multinational customers.

Nott said Fort McCoy's priorities haven't changed in the past year, nor will they change in the new five-year plan.

"You'll see that (the top priority) continues to be making sure that you are safe when you come to Fort McCoy," Nott said. "Immediately after that is taking care of our training customers."

Nott said Fort McCoy has been very successful in marketing why the post needs to be at the forefront of investment.

"(Fiscal year 2016) is the first fiscal year in a long, long time … where Fort McCoy has not received a major military construction project," Nott said. Major military construction projects — two dining facilities and a barracks — are slated for the installation in fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019. "It's because of great staff who does their homework, knows how to communicate, and … sells why Fort McCoy is a good investment."

Communication and marketing also has helped Fort McCoy increase its training and exercise load, Nott said.

"Fort McCoy has moved into a position now where we have the third-largest exercise load in the Department of Defense," he said. The National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, Calif., was one of two locations ahead of Fort McCoy, but Nott pointed out that the installation has at least one advantage over the NTC.

Caption

"The National Training Center rotation … is about 3,500 Soldiers," Nott said. "Here at Fort McCoy, the size and scope of our exercises is enormous. We have two occasions throughout the year where it's very common for us to have 6,500 to 7,000 boots on the ground all exercising at one time, almost twice what the NTC has."

Such large exercises were a major contribution to creating a new record in fiscal year 2015 with 155,237 service members training at Fort McCoy. Nott said that number is the new normal for the post and similar numbers should be expected in the future.

"This isn't because of chance. We're successful because we still embrace our original vision," Nott said, referring to Maj. Gen. Robert B. McCoy's foresight in creating a regional site for training and maneuvers.

"We're successful because of our support structure, as well," Nott said. He named Installation Management Command (IMCOM), the U.S. Army Reserve, the senior commander, elected officials, and the surrounding communities as examples of external factors that help Fort McCoy succeed.

Internal factors ensuring the installation's success include professionalism, a gold-standard staff, and a state-of-the-art installation management system. Nott said another supporting factor is that for some installation employees, Fort McCoy has become a Family business. Multiple second-, third-, and even fourth-generation employees work at the installation.

Nott again said communication, marketing, and research are big factors in Fort McCoy's success, especially when dealing with important visitors. When meeting a senior visitor, he said, many people are tempted to spend a lot of time talking about what's important to the briefer.

"It's the wrong approach," Nott said. "Do your research. Find out what's important to that visitor and then identify those areas that align with what you're trying to do, and that's what you target, because it will resonate.

"We understand that, we do our research, and we're able to be very, very successful," he said.

One area he said he constantly reminds people to be aware of is performance gaps, or the difference between what a customer expects and what an organization realistically is able to accomplish.

Photo 2
Members of the Fort McCoy garrison workforce attending the morning
session of the Jan. 27 Garrison Commander's Annual Workforce Briefing
listen intently to Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott.
Photo by Lou Ann M. Mittelstaedt

"How can I close that performance gap more and more each and every day? You'll never get it closed," Nott said. "There will always be limitation on our resources. There will be changes in mission. There will be increases and decreases in customers. ... But the idea is to get that gap as tight as possible on what is expected and what you can do."

Nott said that at a time when the Department of Defense is downsizing and there are fewer customers, Fort McCoy still was able to grow and grab a larger share of the remaining customers. "We are in competition with other training locations … and if we cannot be the most enticing, (have) the best value, the best training product in the Army, then they will go somewhere else," Nott said.

The Directorate of Public Works has updated its master plan to update the cantonment area.

Part of this plan is the Troop Housing Build-Out Plan, which replaces many of the World War II wooden facilities with new barracks, dining facilities, and administrative space. The plan calls for more open areas and green space.

"Maneuver space is why we exist," Nott said. "Don't let anyone take it away."

Other training resources that keep Fort McCoy postured for the future include its capacity to support approximately 18,000 personnel through cantonment facilities, forward operating bases, and tactical training bases; its daily range throughput capacity of 8,500 personnel and its ability to support all weapons in the Army inventory except the Hellfire missile; and its virtual-training devices.

Nott also reflected on his tenure as garrison commander. He said one of the first things he wanted to do upon arriving at Fort McCoy was to expand its involvement with the local communities. He said that goal is now captured in the strategic plan.

He also highlighted infrastructure improvements, including the expansion of the Family Housing area; upgrades to training areas and ranges; and the increase in customers training at the installation.

"We've pretty much maxed out with how much we can even accept in the summertime," he said. "For us to continue to grow, we've now got to expand out into the winter time frame."

One warning Nott gave was to avoid being distracted from the permanent mission by temporary ones.

"Having a (mobilization) mission is a great enhancer to your relevance because you're part of the national security plan for a major conflict," Nott said. "It's an opportunity, but it's also a huge threat."

Installations that make permanent business decisions based on a temporary mission often struggle after the temporary mission ends, he said. Take the mission, but don't let it influence long-term plans, Nott said.