Fort McCoy News Nov. 11, 2016

IMCOM: Continual transformation

Commanding General, Installation Management Command

Installation Management Command (IMCOM) was born from the Transformation of Installation Management (TIM) study undertaken by the secretary of the Army in 2002. The command is young, just more than a decade old, and the founding principles have endured: efficient utilization of resources to support readiness, equitable services for all Soldiers and Families, and harnessing the power of the enterprise to squeeze the most value out of every base-support dollar. However, the last 15 years of war brought budgets supplemented by overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding. An unintended consequence of this process is an appetite for redundant, outdated, or "gold-plated" programs and projects on our installations.

Lt. Ge. Kenneth R. Dahl
Lt. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl

In this time of declining resources, shifting national priorities, and increasing security concerns around the globe, Army leaders must find alternative solutions beyond asking for more money and additional manpower when confronted with a problem.

Leaders from IMCOM and those they support must work together to separate needs from wants. This new environment is forcing tough choices, and IMCOM is transforming to enhance readiness for today's force and the future Army, especially in the areas of mission command, workforce strength and alignment, program/service delivery, and aligning policies with the current environment.

Transform: Mission Command

In June 2015, after consulting with the Congress, the secretary of the Army authorized separate three-star general officer billets for the assistant chief of staff for installation management (ACSIM) and the commanding general, IMCOM. This change from "dual-hatted" to separate billets is allowing for increased and adaptive mission command of two of the Army's central readiness capabilities: providing quality facilities for Soldiers and formations to train and rapidly deploying forces from the United States to locations overseas.

Further, this increased mission command is focusing leader attention on refining the delivery of necessary services on our installations in ways that support senior commander priorities while responding to evolving missions, declining budgets, and reductions in force structure and civilian employees.

Separating policy and programming (ACSIM) from the execution arm (IMCOM) improves the support that IMCOM and its support directorates (formerly called regions) and garrisons provide to senior commanders. This new clarity in execution is proving that IMCOM and the Army will benefit from the bold changes we are implementing while continuing to provide the Army with training and power projection platforms and a common level of service delivery for Soldiers, Families, and civilians on our installations. In addition to mission command, the biggest changes in IMCOM's near future are in three critical areas: people, programs, and policy.

Transform: People

The 58,000 IMCOM professionals around the globe touch every Soldier's life, every day, providing the facilities and services that make the Army run. Over the past 15 years, however, many of IMCOM's programs and services grew beyond their original charter and scope to accommodate the high operational tempo driven by war.

Staffing increased as part of this program growth, but circumstances now dictate that IMCOM become a smaller, leaner, and better-aligned organization to support the requirements of the future Army. At the beginning of 2016, IMCOM imposed an additional cut on itself — beyond the previously mandated cut of 25 percent for headquarters staffs by the Department of the Army — of about 1,000 civilian employees and is providing the savings to the Army as an investment in readiness.

Reducing the civilian workforce on our garrisons directly impacts service delivery, and re-shaping what services we provide will drive the workforce reduction at each location. Understanding its role as a supporting organization, IMCOM is committed to ensuring senior commanders (supported commanders) remain integrally involved in how individual garrisons shape their local workforces to deliver programs and services. We will achieve success when supporting and supported units work from a shared understanding of priorities.

To enhance this common understanding, IMCOM is transforming our continental U.S. (CONUS) regions to realize the same level of integration our outside continental U.S. regions have in direct support of U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Pacific. Our two CONUS regions are transforming into three IMCOM support directorates (ISD), functionally aligned and co-located with Army Materiel Command (Sustainment), Forces Command (Readiness), and Training and Doctrine Command (Training). Each ISD will manage a smaller number of garrisons, fostering stronger relationships with senior commanders. Just as important, this arrangement will improve integration of supported commanders and their higher headquarters in the validation of requirements. We intend to achieve full operational capability on this complicated personnel and functional realignment process by Oct. 1, 2017.

Transform: Programs

As we reduce the IMCOM civilian workforce, the garrison team will work in conjunction with supported commanders to identify low-priority requirements and eliminate them where it makes sense. Next, we will work together to do fewer of the mid-level priorities, analyzing risk and making tough choices to rescope programs to their original charter or into a form that makes sense for today's Army.

An example of rescoping is with the respite care feature of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). Originally intended to provide a break for Families with an EFMP member when their Soldier was deployed, it grew beyond this intended purpose and experienced cost overruns. We are rescoping this to deliver the service where the need is greatest and at the same level of support provided by the other armed services. This will save the Army time and money while still delivering an important service to Army Families who need it.

We also are creating efficiencies by consolidating functions, using call centers to manage similar functions at multiple garrisons, or by leveraging technology in varying ways. In geographic regions where we have a large installation with several smaller ones nearby, we are implementing mutual-support relationships to conserve resources and enhance our ability to deliver services when and where they are needed most.

Army installations have excellent relationships with their local communities, and senior leaders spend considerable time nurturing these connections.

To capitalize on this goodwill, IMCOM actively seeks public-public and public-private partnerships to augment our services, reduce costs and build communities. As it is with most bold change, we will need to adjust policies and regulations to facilitate our garrisons' ability to partner with nonfederal entities.

Transform: Policy

Just as we work alongside supported commanders to identify and eliminate inefficient, redundant, or outdated programs and services, we must request adjustments to policies that constrain our flexibility to adapt to changing conditions.

The nexus of fiscal constraint, manpower reductions, and requirements growth makes today's environment ripe with opportunities for individuals and organizations to challenge counterproductive policies or requirements in the interest of streamlining processes or reducing costs.

We are looking inward as well to identify any self-imposed policies or requirements that distract us from supporting senior commander and Army priorities.

For example, we have put in place too many reportable metrics. We are, therefore, reducing or eliminating a substantial number of reports to create time to focus on higher, agreed-upon priorities.

Transform: Why?

Simply put, Soldiers in the Army of the future will have a very different understanding of what Army life is like. They will be professional and capable as always, but they will also be rugged, expecting, and accepting of a Spartan lifestyle.

We will start that process today by recalibrating our collective expectations of what is possible for Soldiers and Families on Army installations. With fiscal and manpower limitations alongside increasing requirements, we simply cannot continue to operate as before. The future Army is one of bold leaders taking bold action to win in a complex world, and IMCOM is transforming to support it.

   (Article originally appeared in the 2016 Army Greenbook.)