Army recognizes FLW, SOP partnership Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 December 2017
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Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy; Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, assistant chief of staff for Installation Management; and, Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, recognize personnel from Fort Leonard Wood and their community partner, Sustainable Ozarks Partnership at the Army Community Partnership Recognition Ceremony Monday, at the Pentagon.
 
Story and photo by David Vergun
Special to GUIDON

Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy was keynote speaker at the Army Community Partnership Recognition Ceremony Monday at the Pentagon, where Fort Leonard Wood was among seven installations recognized.

Partnerships between the Army and communities outside its installations are important for several reasons, McCarthy said.

The cultural divide between the Army and the nation is the widest it has ever been, he said, meaning that the percentage of Americans who have served or are currently serving is very small. “Trust by the American people is the foundation of our profession. Every day we are in the community strengthens it, particularly through partnerships.”

Partnerships also have a real and meaningful relationship with readiness, he said; through improved mission training, cost efficiency, expanded capabilities, greater efficiencies and improved community relationships.

Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, assistant chief of staff for Installation Management, said community partners contribute substantially to the readiness of the Army through cost avoidance and providing services to Soldiers and their families.

These relationships are long-term and are built on shared trust and commitment, she added.

“There is absolutely no way we can do what we do inside our installations without the full support and partnership of our community leaders, along with industry and academia outside our gates,” Bingham concluded.

Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, said partnerships are important to the Army because they are a way to more efficiently utilize resources, provide new ideas and solve problems.

Mahlon Apgar IV, a former assistant secretary of the Army for IEE, said partnerships are valuable in three ways: “First, partnerships are unique because it is government and community businesses contributing within a single structure. Second, innovation is the instrument to bring these partnerships together. Third, partnerships are bipartisan, pulling all of the participants together to solve local problems.”

During his service with the Army, Apgar helped establish the Army’s Residential Communities Initiative, a public-private partnership that privatized housing on installations.

Intergovernmental service agreements, or IGSA, are a vital component of conserving resources and infrastructure and increasing efficiency, according to Nate Allen, a spokesman for U.S. Army Installation Management Command. IGSAs are the types of agreements used by these seven community award winners.

On average, the Army realizes a 25 percent cost reduction for installation support services provided through IGSAs with local or state government partners, he noted.

IGSAs are not contracts, they are public-public partnerships. IGSAs are not meant to replace contractors, but are a way to strengthen installations and local communities while enabling readiness in a cost-effective manner, he added.

Fort Leonard Wood is one of seven installations honored with this award.

After significant flooding in late April, Fort Leonard Wood experienced “catastrophic failure of its critical water infrastructure,” according to the award citation.

Over the course of 48 hours, Fort Leonard Wood had very limited capability to produce water, and was within hours of losing water pressure to the hospital and the rest of the installation, it states.

During this crisis, the city of St. Robert was unable to provide water directly to the installation from its water source because no interconnectivity between the two entities existed, according to Kent Thomas, a retired Army officer and executive director of the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership, the organization that later partnered with the post in getting the funding and communication linking the post and state and local community.

As a result, the state of Missouri approved a $500,000 grant and the city of St. Robert agreed to fund the remainder of the more than $730,000 project to interconnect their city water system to Fort Leonard Wood. This provides reciprocating backup water supplies in case of future emergencies, Thomas said.

Other awardees include: Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Devens Reserve Forces Training Area, Massachusetts; Massachusetts National Guard’s Camp Edwards Training Site; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; and Fort Lee, Virginia.

(Editor’s note: Vergun writes for the Army News Service.)