[ Triad Online Home ]                                                                                    November 25, 2005

Army Communities of Excellence awards board pares installation packets

by Tisha Johnson, Triad Contributor

      FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Fort Leavenworth played host Oct. 22-29 to about 50 examiners serving on the awards board for the Army Communities of Excellence (ACOE) competition. The board members spent a week reviewing packets submitted by four installations for the fiscal 2006 ACOE Award competition.

      "The Army Communities of Excellence Program is an awards program used to recognize excellence in Installation Management environments," said ACOE Program Manager Rosye Faulk. Faulk is with Installation Management Agency (IMA) headquarters.

      The annual awards program focuses on installations that provide facilities and support services to Army family members and civilians, Faulk said.

      The process began with 32 installations filing an intent to apply. Of those, 14 submitted a packet in August. After an initial paring down, four of the packets were forwarded through to the ACOE awards board phase.

      Installations making the top four were Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Stewart, Ga., Fort A.P. Hill, Va., and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Fort Stewart was the Department of Defense and Army ACOE winner for 2005.

      Other installations in the top 14 were the 6th Area Support Group, Stuttgart, Germany; 222nd Base Support Battalion (BSB), Baumholder, Germany; 280th BSB, Schweinfurt, Germany; 282nd BSB, Hohenfels, Germany; 415th BSB, Kaiserslautern, Germany; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort McCoy, Wis.; Area IV Support Activity, Camp Henry, South Korea; Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa.; and U.S. Army Garrison Japan, Camp Zama, Japan.

      "The awards board phase is really the critical step in the entire process," Faulk said.

      Top Army and civilian examiners gather in one location and pore over the packets in preparation for the site visit in November, Faulk said.

      "Primarily, the folks involved have a lot of analytical skills," she said "They are bringing a lot to the table."

      The examiners spent the first day attending a calibration and score alignment session to make sure all teams are aligned to look at things in the same way, Faulk said. The examiners then spent the rest of the week in their team units and were not allowed to discuss the packets with anyone else. An installation's chances are completely based on the application, she said.

      After the site visits, the final judging process will be in December and from there recommendations will be packaged and sent to the assistant chief of staff for Installation Management in January 2006. The award ceremony is scheduled May 2006 at the Pentagon and is hosted by the chief of staff of the Army.

      The first-place winner receives $2 million, second place $1 million and third place $750,000. The award money is to be used for quality-of-life improvements at the installations. Faulk said the money cannot be diverted or used for mission purposes.

      "At the end of the day, IMA's desire is that we create an environment of excellence where Soldiers and their family members are proud and really feel like we are their hometown -- that every garrison becomes a hometown for our Soldiers and their families," Faulk said

      IMA is committed to driving continuous improvement programs, she said. The programs are a necessity to meet the present and future demands of the Army.

      "The awards program of ACOE is really the capstone that recognizes those garrisons that have already embraced continuous improvement and have reached a role model status," Faulk said.

      Fort Leavenworth volunteered to host the awards board event this year and Faulk said it showed commitment and willingness to be a part of the program. She said there was tremendous effort from the local staff to support the event.

      "The planning took place months before the team ever got here and it showed the capabilities of Fort Leavenworth and how well equipped they are to support this type of event," Faulk said.

      After putting out a call for volunteers to host the event Faulk said it was easy to choose Fort Leavenworth.

      "Garrisons can provide services on par or that exceed private-sector excellence," Faulk said.

  (Johnson is a staff writer for the Fort Leavenworth Lamp.)


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