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NEWS | Dec. 18, 2020

Strategic focus to strengthen garrison capabilities

By Amy Phillips Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs Office

It takes a village - every garrison directorate at both installations, tenants and other stakeholders - to coordinate and work out the myriad processes, funding and logistics to meet short and long-term garrison objectives. IMCOM-Readiness Director Brenda McCullough and Maj. Gen. Alberto Rosende, 63rd Readiness Division commanding general and the garrison’s senior commander, commended the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett/Parks Reserve Forces Training Area’s strategic planning and accomplishments during the December 8, 2020 Installation Planning Board’s annual brief.

“We’ve been extremely productive in 2020, despite all the obstacles thrown our way,” said Garrison Commander Col. Charles Bell. “I’m extremely proud of our team at both installations.”

Bell chaired the IPB and along with command teams from both installations and key staff, provided the annual brief on the garrison’s current and proposed Integrated Priorities List (IPL) in order to receive guidance and approval from senior leaders. The annual IPL is part of the garrison’s Integrated Strategic Sustainable Program (ISSP) which guides the garrison’s efforts to allocate funding and resources, and ensure their priorities are nested within the goals of higher commands. The ISSP outlines the four lines of effort that govern everything the garrison does: Community, Training Land Management, Infrastructure, and Workforce.
Other strategic plans that guide daily operations include the garrison Master Plan, which encompasses the long-term vision of what the installation layout and facilities should look like.

FY20 milestones briefed to senior commanders include:
• Receiving support for the Network Enterprise Center as a military construction project in FY27
• Significant modernizations to FHL’s training capabilities, which includes investing in more than $40 million in upgrading the barracks at FHL which will be completed by FY22
• Made some headway to reduce the number of areas identified with potential depleted uranium which increases the already restricted maneuver corridor
• Opened a small arms range suitable at PRFTA for M9s, and received approval to finalize their Modular Small Arms Range (MSAR)
• Completed design of a Child Youth Services facility at PRFTA
• Received approval to acquire additional microgrids at both installations
• Sustained training load despite COVID-19 pandemic

FHL used innovative approaches to its range modernization efforts by using in-house Directorate of Public Works expertise and partnering with Army Reserve engineer units and Navy Seabees. DPW and DPTMS range maintenance installed new firing positions at the weapons ranges. DPW and Troop Projects Coordinator developed plans to expand the engineer training site at Training Area 10 and the Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration site (RSOI) at Schoonover Airfield.

The persistent lobbying by staff paid off for the PRFTA Modular Small Arms Range (MSAR) and CYS facilities. Both projects are approved, the MSAR electrical project is under contract but funding is still required for the CYS facility. FMWR continues to develop private/public partnerships to support families until the new facility is constructed.

Although there was some headway on the seven other priorities, more work remains to be done. “The FY21 IPL is not necessarily listed in order of priority as the projects continue to be worked on simultaneously,” said Bell. “Getting funding for projects is always challenging and we’re looking for creative approaches to meet requirements.”

The Institutional/Collective Training Modernization priority allows the garrison to remain competitive and provide best service to warfighters.

“We are more relevant than ever to the Department of Defense because training has stopped at many other installations caused by large COVID case numbers,” said Bill Riley, in charge of the Directorate of the Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security. “We’re proud that training at our garrison has not stopped since the pandemic.” He stated that there are 12 troop projects in various stages of development, which allows the garrison to use the funding for other programs to support readiness and Soldier/Family programs, while providing Soldiers real-world experience.
FHL is working on a transportation contract to shuttle troops from airports to the post, which will help customers reduce their logistics functions and save money.

Utilities sustainability at both installations is also a major issue as frequent power outages due to aged infrastructure causes significant disruptions and degrades readiness. The connection of existing microgrids needs to be done by PG&E, and additional microgrids are scheduled to be installed. These action support the Army’s Energy Security and Sustainability Strategy and requirement to have power and water for a minimum of 14 days in the event of an emergency.

At PRFTA, the 1950s-era barracks require major repairs and funding, and a larger fitness facility is required to meet Army standards. McCullough noted that barracks are a recruiting tool and urged the garrison to research what other installations are doing to upgrade facilities with similar budget constraints. The location for a new fitness facility has been identified, added to the Master Plan, and awaits a design charrette and funding.

At FHL, a new Access Control Point is required to meet Army standards, and improved parking space is needed for the Equipment Concentration Site-170. A new addition to the list is that of improving Tusi Heliport to support increased air traffic and military training, as well as mutual aid wildland fire operations. Personnel to manage, maintain and operate the airfield are also required, in addition to infrastructure overhaul.

McCullough’s closing remarks included acknowledging the garrison’s superb COVID-19 protocols and success at “keeping the scourge at bay and the workforce healthy.” She encouraged the garrison to “build on your successes and creativity on programming to reach goals.” McCullough also noted that she understands the IPL focus on infrastructure, but urged the team to not forget about the programs. McCullough commended Rosende on helping to get FHL/PRFTA more visibility and on the cutting edge.
“Your enthusiasm and energy brighten the teams and encouraged creative approaches to solve problems,” said McCullough. She pledged continued support with the garrison’s fight for funding at higher commands.

Rosende was impressed with the garrison’s solid plans to continue to improve, and echoed McCullough’s sentiments to emphasize the importance of programs supporting Soldiers and the garrison community. “We are all transients – it is the programs that will continue and benefit our successors,” said Rosende. “Program decisions help us strive for success.” He urged the garrison to continue improving posture to fight wildfires by building on lessons learned, and partnerships.

“Providing superior support to our customers and taking care of the garrison community is of utmost importance to me,” said Bell. “And I’m proud of the FHL/PRFTA team for their dedication and efforts to keep things moving along. We still have more to do to continually strive for excellence and anticipate a continued high OPTEMPO.”