JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
More than 40 joint base and installation support leaders from across the Department of Defense are more capable of executing their missions as a result of cross-talk and resource discussions at the inaugural Joint Base Commander Summit held here April 19-20.
Hosted by the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, the goal of the summit was to have discussions among joint base leaders, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army Installation Management Command and AFIMSC leadership about installation and mission support issues that are unique to joint bases.
“We’re taking extra steps to make sure we provide everything joint base commanders need for the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines at their bases,” said Steve Shea, AFIMSC Installation Support Directorate Mission Activity Integration Division chief. “Our policy is to meet individually with the leadership from each joint base twice a year to discuss their issues and concerns. However, the joint base commanders seldom hear about these issues from each other, and so we organized this summit to provide a forum for them to share experiences, concerns and best practices, and hear from our experts.”
AFIMSC is the lead installation and mission support element to seven joint bases and represents the Air Force in three for total equity in 10 of the DOD’s 12 joint bases.
“These are very large bases with very complex missions,” Shea said. “One example is Joint Base San Antonio, which is home to the Air and Space Forces’ basic training command, as well as the Army’s main enlisted medical training command. These leaders have to ensure those missions happen. If they fail, then the Air Force doesn’t meet its manning requirements and the Army doesn’t produce medics, and then you have no combat power. So AFIMSC is literally helping the joint-war fight.”
Command teams at the 10 Air Force led and supported joint bases include leaders from sister services, such as Army Col. Harry Hung, who is the vice commander of the 633rd Air Base Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.
“I'm one of the few who has commanded an Army base and now a joint base, so I’m seeing it from both sides, and culture certainly plays a big role in how you deliver services,” Hung said. “I have two four-star headquarters, one on the Air Force side and one on the Army side, and so I have to translate how resources are equitably divided, especially since all of our funding comes from the Air Force. This summit has given me some insights on how to best communicate that and other concerns with leaders back home.”
Civil engineering and services were two of the main topics of discussion – the programs that take care of infrastructure and military members and their families, respectively.
“We mainly focused on these core functional areas, because they are areas that have a lot of touchpoints and lot of command activity, and they impact how well the joint base can deliver its mission,” Shea said. “We also wanted to show them the governance structure that’s above us, so we invited leaders from OSD and Headquarters Air Force to speak, and to get an appreciation about how problems are worked and solved at that level.”
Randall Robinson, executive deputy to the commanding general of the Army Installation Management Command, provided a presentation to give attendees a different perspective about how the Army teams with the Air Force and Navy to promote and support Joint Basing. Other topics included strategies for success, getting the most out of infrastructure funding, DOD policy news, role of AFIMSC detachments, and updates about housing, environmental, leasing and real property programs.
AFIMSC achieved its inaugural summit objective by giving leaders a better understanding of the installation and mission support capabilities at their disposal, while arming them with information to help them maximize their resources, Shea said.
“If we can help commanders at these very large bases deliver that, it’s a win for the joint warfighter,” he said.
Organizers plan to hold the summit again next year.