Installation Management Command, or IMCOM, Commander Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl spent the day with both military and civilian leaders and employees during a visit to APG, July 31.
Dahl was hosted by Senior Mission Commander, Maj. Gen. Randy S. Taylor, along with Garrison Commander, Col. Robert L. Phillips III. Dahl had the opportunity to get an inside look at the Army’s Home of Innovation as he toured several of the unique mission facilities across the installation.
In addition to viewing several of the Centers of Excellence located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Dahl visited the Army’s largest Enhanced Use Lease project, or EUL, which allows businesses to lease installation property and provide upgrades at no cost to the government. APG’s EUL generates about $2 million annually, half of which goes directly to the installation for various programs.
During a short break for lunch, Dahl met with Garrison directors, where he took questions and provided some candid answers. He explained that IMCOM has an annual budget of $9 Billion to spread across 75 active duty IMCOM installations. “It’s no secret the Army is working in a fiscally constrained environment,” he said. “The money we get is all we have to work with. We’re not getting any more.”
After meeting with Garrison directors, Dahl got to see one of the Army’s key organizations that directly contributes to readiness of the force, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, or MRICD. Commander, Col. Margery Hanfelt, showed Dahl their one of a kind, Wide Area Virtual Environmental, or WAVElet simulator. The WAVElet enables both military and civilian medical personnel to be immersed in real-life casualty care scenarios for training purposes.
Dahl then got a rare look inside of one of the most advanced labs across the Army at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, or ECBC, Advanced Chemistry Laboratory by supervisory chemist, Dr. Fred Berg.
Along with state of the art laboratories whose mission’s ride the cutting edge of technology, Dahl also saw many of the outdated and deteriorating buildings slated for demolition in the future. Dahl said APG has beautiful facilities which need to be well maintained.
“I have to leave a message to everybody here to be grateful for the really excellent facilities they have and to take care of them, and yet like every installation… there are a couple of pockets that really need some attention and… that’s where I can be helpful.”
Since becoming the first IMCOM Commander to lead directly from IMCOM headquarters in Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, Dahl has made it a priority to personally visit all 75 installations under IMCOM command to identify the areas where Department of Defense, or DOD resources need to be allocated.
“Nothing replaces being able to see [these installations] first hand… being able to walk the grounds, or see it from the air and talk to the people who are experiencing the challenges of infrastructure or whatever it might be,” he said. “It allows me to make the relative comparisons of needs here versus needs elsewhere… It’s really the most important thing that IMCOM does to support the commander and all of their tenants.”
Dahl assessed his three main priorities, infrastructure, training and readiness, and Soldier and family programs, for all installations during his time at APG.
In regards to infrastructure, Dahl said one of the reasons APG was the seventieth installation he visited, was due to the fact APG’s infrastructure was in good shape.
“It took me 18 months to come to APG because you really do have great infrastructure,” he said. “There’s a few areas that need attention and we’re really going to take a look at those… That’s something that I have to be personally involved in… to find a solution to that.”
Since APG is such a civilian-heavy installation, training needs to be focused on the needs of the civilian workforce here, Dahl added.
“[Civilians] need to be trained just as much as the military workforce does if they’re going to maintain that high level of competence… I’m looking at how I can lead a large civilian workforce in IMCOM, and giving them the attention they deserve.”
While the Soldier and military family programs aren’t as robust as larger military centric installations, Dahl said he would be surprised if any Soldier wasn’t receiving the services they needed.
He continued, if there is a need, “IMCOM will always be there to deliver.”
Dahl added one of the solutions he saw at APG he would use as an example to lead other installations, was the sense of community spirit he saw.
“There’s a number of commands here that are seemingly independent… but you don’t get that feeling… When you’re here… it feels like an integrated community and that’s the secret to success,” he said.
Before concluding his visit, Dahl had the opportunity to take an overflight in a Blackhawk helicopter. After seeing all APG had to offer from a unique perspective, Dahl mentioned it was obvious to him much of the Army’s current capabilities were developed and tested here.
“If we want to maintain that, we have to continue what we’re doing here so I can say the same thing, 5, 10, 15 years from now,” he said.