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Installation Management—
From Camp Swampy to the Starship Enterprise

On “Star Trek,” a groundbreaking television series in the 1960s, humans and aliens served together on the Starship Enterprise. A sequel, “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” was even more visionary, making the Enterprise home to both the crew and their families. While the crew deployed on missions, family members enjoyed the amenities on the Enterprise. Today’s Army installations are moving toward the environment portrayed in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

The traditional image of the young, unattached GI is a thing of the past. The typical American soldier today has a high school diploma and may be college educated. Over half of the members of our military forces are married. Many have children attending Department of Defense Dependents Schools.

Unfortunately, because their infrastructures have not kept pace with the changes in Army demographics, many military installations continue to be much like Camp Swampy, the post portrayed in the “Beetle Bailey” comic strip. In these places, existing facilities are inadequate for today’s soldiers. Housing suitable for a single soldier is unacceptable for a service member with a family. Recreational facilities and activities that once were appropriate for the unaccompanied draftee are unappealing to professional soldiers and their families. The Army can no longer consider only the soldier; it now must address the broader concerns of the soldier and his family. When a soldier has to serve in a dependent-restricted area, he must be confident that his family is well cared for back home.

Professional installation management personnel—military and civilian alike—play a pivotal role in meeting soldier needs. Installation management personnel must provide enough funding for Army facilities to accomplish missions during both peacetime and mobilization. They also must recruit and retain people with the skills necessary to make Army installations viable power-projection “flagships” —installations capable of sustaining and supporting forces anywhere in the world at any time.

Installations as Flagships

In 2003, Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker designated “Installations as Flagships” as one of the Army’s 16 focus areas. Installation management personnel at Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA); Headquarters, Installation Management Agency (IMA); the seven IMA regional offices; and individual Army garrisons are key to realizing the Chief of Staff’s vision and making installations more efficient and effective.

Providing resources for realistic standard levels of services at each Army installation ensures that support and services are equitable and consistent. Realizing economies at the facility level gives leaders flexibility to resource key initiatives that will make installations both excellent communities and power-projection flagships.

Flagships are places where military personnel live, work, and train and from which they deploy and are supported during contingency operations. A flagship installation needs a standard installation infrastructure that is aligned to the needs of the professional soldier and his family. For example, Quonset huts and gang latrines are no longer acceptable. Recreational activities should be more family oriented. Training ranges should be modernized to support interservice, simultaneous collective training. Professional warriors should have the electronic capabilities needed to reach back to the home station for support when they are deployed. Essentially, the Army is striving for excellent communities that provide quality-driven installation support within the framework of essential common levels of services.

Visionary leaders at HQDA, IMA, the IMA regions, and the individual installations are creating a corporate culture that is receptive to emerging, challenging roles and responsibilities. Although the flagships are Army installations, the key stakeholders at the installations could very well be from other services. Installation management personnel therefore should think “purple,” or “joint.”

Joint Mindset

With the Department of Defense’s increasing promotion of joint expeditionary forces, other military services share the Army’s flagships and could deploy from an Army installation. Consequently, they are key stakeholders in the operations at that installation. Installation management personnel should become better acquainted with joint doctrine because, as flagships, Army installations need to focus on joint expeditionary forces.

Installation management personnel can cultivate an environment that is receptive to joint operations by pursuing initiatives that benefit the different service components. Installation management professionals could promote “jointness” through initiatives that maximize savings for all of the services supported by the Army installation. For example, one way to foster a joint atmosphere is to allow the other services on an installation to share in the accrued savings or cost avoidances of an activity-based cost management project that crosses service lines.

Having a vision and fostering the right state of mind at the installation are only part of the challenge. Flagship personnel must be ethical and competent to achieve the IMA vision.

Installation Quality

A disparity exists in the quality of facilities and ser-vices available at Army installations. Some installations (the “haves”) provide adequate support for soldiers and their families and civilian employees. “Have” installations provide decent housing; office space; dining, recreational, and athletic facilities; and training ranges. At the other end of the spectrum are the “have not” installations, which are unable to provide the needed level of support services. Quonset hut buildings and gang latrines are often still found at these installations.

“Have” and “have not” installations need to be replaced by excellent communities that provide equitable support and services. Training ranges, deployment facilities, equipment, and state-of-the-art technologies should be readily adaptable for use by members of other service components. Providing common levels of support is a way to reduce, if not eliminate, the gap between “have” and “have not” installations. Under the common levels of support concept, installations are being funded to provide equitable services throughout the Army. With this funding, an installation in Korea will be able to provide the same level of support services as an installation in Texas. Housing and office space deficiencies also are being addressed. For example, Quonset huts are being replaced with modern buildings in Korea. Essentially, the Army’s goal is to provide equal services at all installations. In the next stage of this reform effort, IMA will focus on applying the Army Performance Improvement Criteria to installations to make them “communities of excellence.”


To restructure successfully the way the Army conducts its installation support mission, it must train personnel to meet future challenges. Managers play a crucial role in ensuring that soldiers and civilian employees are ready to assume responsibilities on the flagship. Forward-thinking managers at HQDA, the IMA regions, and the individual installations should concentrate on funding required training to equip personnel with the skills they need to support the flagship during peacetime and contingency operations.

For example, the traditional roles of installation comptrollers are expanding rapidly. Historically, installations were staffed to execute a budget given to them by a major command. However, under the flagship concept of installation management, resources flow directly from the IMA to the installations without passing through a major command. Installations now have to plan and program for their resources to accomplish an evolving base-operations mission—one that supports excellent communities designed to standards, realistic training, reach-back capabilities, and power reception and projection.

Modularity ties in nicely with the flagship concept. Military and civilian personnel will be required to perform diverse duties and responsibilities. New skills will have to be learned and rehearsed during training exercises. The flagship will need installation personnel who are familiar with operations during mobilization. Hence, positions at the IMA regions and the installations may be staffed with emergency-essential civilians and contractors with wartime provisions in their contracts. Civilian personnel may be required to train on common battlefield skills and tasks to support the installation’s wartime mission. Emergency-essential civilian personnel and contractors will expedite a seamless transition from a peacetime or armistice environment to a wartime posture, thereby facilitating deployment and supporting the expeditionary force without interruption or costly delays. [Emergency-essential civilians are Department of Defense civilian employees who perform specific battle tasks during mobilization.]

Trained personnel work to execute the IMA leadership’s plans for the future. However, nothing derails future plans better than archaic processes that add no value to installation management and support services. To avoid this problem, action officers at HQDA, the IMA regions, and the installations are reviewing processes and improving methods to ensure efficiencies and effectiveness.

Robust Processes

All installation management action officers should be the standard bearers for creative ideas that conserve public resources, eliminate redundant operations and processes, reengineer staffing and positions to make administrative procedures less bureaucratic, and promote an expeditious transition to a wartime posture.

Flagships should enhance the Army’s capability to transition rapidly from peace to war. Redundant procedures could hinder this transition and increase the likelihood of the loss of lives and assets. Therefore, costly, outmoded, labor-intensive processes should be streamlined to help ensure mission success and realize efficiencies.

Taking advantage of regional contracts is an effective way to generate efficiencies. For example, installation management personnel within the IMA Korea Region Office noticed that the region was spending too much for utilities. To improve efficiency, the Korea Region Office is creating region-wide contracts to provide utilities and construction materials at the enduring installations on the peninsula. [As part of the Land Partnership Program and Future of the Alliance Talks, the United States will be returning installations to the Korean Government. Enduring installations are the facilities that the United States will continue to use.] Another excess cost is caused by warehouse managers at the installations’ Directorates of Public Works using an outdated pencil-and-paper method of accounting for stocks in the warehouses, which results in higher ordering and storage costs. The Korea Region has contractors developing integrated processes that will address warehousing, logistics, and an in- and out-processing system.

Another cost-saving effort from the Korea Region Office is the use of the traditional Korean real estate “key-money,” or “chunsae,” system to obtain housing for civilians and military personnel living off post. With the key-money system, the renter gives the landlord a percentage of the value of the property up front. This lowers the amount that must be paid monthly. Currently in Seoul, the cost of off-post housing is astronomical. A typical four-bedroom apartment in a high rise can cost the U.S. Government $35,000 to $40,000 per year. The Government pays between $90 million and $100 million a year to house personnel off post in Seoul. The chunsae initiative potentially could save $25 million a year that could be redirected to finance higher priority requirements.

The Korea Region Office participates in major exercises to rehearse its critical role in supporting warfighters during a contingency. The Korea Region Office receives personnel and materiel at the installations and pushes them forward to sustain mobilization efforts. The warfighters are the “tooth.” IMA regions, like the Korea Region Office, that have a wartime mission represent the logistics tail that sustains operations.

Installation management personnel play a crucial role in transforming Army garrisons into viable flagships where military personnel live and train and from which they deploy to protect U.S. interests. Installation management personnel must find creative ways to support initiatives that provide quality services to military members and their families. This includes providing deployed service members with reach-back capabilities.

Installation management personnel must eliminate wasteful practices and reallocate installation assets to resource standard levels of services equitably. They must be familiar with modularity in order to provide support and services to deployed personnel and their families. Installation management personnel must provide training that prepares military and civilian employees to meet the challenges of operating a flagship within a joint environment. Essentially, dedicated installation management personnel make the difference between Camp Swampy and the Starship Enterprise. ALOG

John Di Genio is a management analyst with the Installation Management Agency Korea Region Office. He is a graduate of the Army Management Staff College and the Army Logistics Management College’s Operations Research/Systems Analysis Military
Applications Course.