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Managing the Move Into the New SCoE Headquarters

The thought of moving into a brandnew building provided both incentive and motivation to the military and civilian personnel of the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM). Having watched the new building evolve from a mere foundation to a finished four stories, CASCOM teammates were excited by the thrill of becoming its first occupants. During the first weekend of March 2009, the dream became a reality and the moving began!

From a planning perspective, the move had three key phases: detailed pre-movement planning, movement execution, and post-movement operations. The imperatives that governed the move included the safety of personnel, uninterrupted mission support, and documentation of lessons learned. Given the successful execution of the movement plan drafted by Colonel Mark Talkington and John Weber, in addition to great teamwork, professionalism, and commitment on the part of all stakeholders, CASCOM and the Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE) team now have a new place to call “home.” We are forever grateful to our leaders—past and present—and the many men and women who selflessly labored to make it happen.

—Colonel Gwen Bingham
Chief of Staff, CASCOM and SCoE

The move of CASCOM personnel into their new home—the SCoE headquarters building—took
place over a 6-week period and was conducted in a way that ensured uninterrupted mission support. The successful movement can be attributed to a carefully conceived and managed three-part process: pre-movement planning, movement execution, and post-movement operations.

Pre-Movement Planning

In October 2008, the CASCOM Base Closure and Realingment (BRAC) Office issued CASCOM Operation Order 08–17, which set the ball in motion for movement into the new building. A group of key players was assembled, including the move czar (the lead person in charge of the entire movement operation), move captains, and representatives from the CASCOM and Fort Lee Garrison BRAC offices and the CASCOM Command Group, who proved later to be crucial in the successful and smooth move.

The move czar served as the link between the command group and the BRAC offices, providing much-needed oversight and management. The move captains, both military and civilian, were the voices of their respective directorates and determined how best to relocate their directorates’ personnel without disrupting operations and mission support. The move captains informed their people of the rules governing the packing of their offices, checking out on move day, and checking in at their new locations.

Working closely together, these players handled many preliminary details through weekly in-progress reviews (IPRs). They developed a movement plan that would permit CASCOM to—

  • Maintain simultaneous operations in two locations (the old CASCOM and new SCoE headquarters buildings) without mission degradation.
  • Manage the use of over 975 reusable shipping crates.
  • Conduct walkthroughs of the CASCOM and SCoE buildings with prospective contractors.
  • Disseminate data calls to the directorates.

These data calls requested equipment inventories, information on personnel relocations and their future areas of assignment, and current Internet protocol addresses and phone numbers in an effort to streamline connectivity. Feedback from the data calls permitted CASCOM to adopt a “plug and play” transition, under which each directorate could keep its current phone numbers and maintain active email accounts and thus avert disruptions in the support they provided. Early in this phase, personnel were instructed to remove personal property from their offices and to shred or recycle all outdated material. We later learned that these actions saved time and cut costs, thereby increasing the efficiency of the contracted moving company.

Once the move contractor was selected, the contractor conducted a site visit with the CASCOM move czar, and together they developed a movement timeline. The timeline chosen was 6 weeks long. The tables on these pages show the timeline, which also was helpful in accounting for personnel during the move.

Movement Execution

Actually making the move required the greatest amount of flexibility to sustain simultaneous operations between the two facilities. Move captains were indispensable in facilitating movements to meet the timeline. They ensured that predetermined numbers of personnel and equipment departed and arrived on schedule each day, labeled building areas before new personnel moved in, provided directions to directorate personnel in the new building, and supervised the unloading of equipment in the correct areas, thereby facilitating a quick turnaround for the movers.

CASCOM personnel also labeled and packed their offices’ items (which included regulations, handbooks, and other pertinent documentation associated with their jobs) into reusable shipping crates before their sections’ moves. This enabled the movers to load and unload crates, boxes, furniture, and other items very quickly. Larger items and computers were placed in large bins on wheels and loaded into trucks as a single unit.

Post-Movement Operations

Challenges concerning security, connectivity, warranties, construction issues, and facility limitations were solved during the post-movement phase. For example, priority was given to the Chief Information Officer to solve all unresolved connectivity issues so as to minimize disruptions or delays in support. The requested punch-list of things to do (such as fixing building deficiencies) submitted by each move captain was prioritized and annotated for resolution as either a “warranty” or “installation public works” issue. Facility limitations, such as the allocation of storage and parking spaces around the building, also were addressed. Contracts were awarded for facility cleaning, and a “care and maintenance committee” was created. The pre-move building etiquette plan was further refined during building occupation and post-movement operations.

All tasks and lessons learned associated with the move were documented in after-action reviews. The results from the evaluation survey completed by the workforce, coupled with the lessons learned, were briefed to the command group and project stakeholders.

The CASCOM move into the SCoE building was deemed a success because all major objectives were met. We can attribute the successful move to meticulous planning and unwavering support by all supported and supporting stakeholders throughout each of the three phases of the operation. More importantly, the move was completed on time with no personnel injuries or major incidents. This success can be credited in large part to the professionalism, flexibility, and ability of the move team and each of the directorates to keep the lines of communication open among the CASCOM Command Group and the CASCOM and Garrison BRAC offices.

Using this strategy, CASCOM was able to maintain simultaneous operations in two locations without any degradation of mission support—a true testament to the command’s motto, “Support Starts Here!” With the consolidation of its directorates and subordinate school headquarters (Quartermaster, Ordnance, and Transportation) into the SCoE headquarters building, CASCOM will be able to continue to provide outstanding sustainment support to the Army and the Department of Defense for the foreseeable future.

John R. Weber is a retired Army captain currently assigned to the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia, as the BRAC movement czar for the Sustainment Center of Excellence. He has a B.S. degree in biology from Delaware State University and an M.A. degree in transportation and logistics management from American Military University. He is a graduate of the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course and is a Demonstrated Master Logistician.

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