by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate
Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico has a rich and storied history. Its relationship with the United States Army dates to the Spanish-American War with the creation of the Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry, commanded by Brigadier General James Anderson Buchanan. In the last century, the site has evolved from a training camp into an Army Reserve-funded installation that is home to 59 Department of Defense Reserve units and over 26,000 Soldiers, Civilians and Family members. To ensure its mission resilience, Fort Buchanan is planning for the future with Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning.
Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning is a long-term, holistic process that bolsters an installation’s extant planning efforts. The process results in a strategic plan that supports current and future mission requirements; safeguards human health, improves quality-of-life; and enhances the natural environment. Most installation strategic plans cover three to five years, but Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning covers 20 to 25 years and incorporates elements such as energy and water security; solid waste management; and sustainable development.
Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning was first implemented in the Army at
Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2000. Numerous installations, National Guard sites and community organizations in the United States, Europe and the Pacific have since instituted the process. Fort Hunter Liggett and Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, California were the first Army Reserve-funded installations to complete the process in the summer of 2018.
Fort Buchanan is a perfect candidate to pursue Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning because the post continually strives to improve its operations, services and resilience. “The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate is pleased to have Fort Buchanan serve as one of the pilot sites for Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning because we know that its commitment to excellence will only strengthen the program’s benefits for the entire Command,” said Heather Brown, Army Reserve
Strategic Readiness Team Lead. “Fort Buchanan’s collaboration and comprehensive evaluation of each step in the process will allow the Army Reserve to develop the best possible path forward as it relates to strategic planning for our installations, Readiness Divisions and Mission Support Command.”
The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and Fort Buchanan have cultivated Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning efforts since June 2018. Senior leaders including Robert Maxwell, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Resource Management and Materiel for the Office of the Chief of Army Reserve, and Major
General Scottie D. Carpenter, Deputy Commanding General of the Army Reserve, have participated in planning sessions. Stakeholders throughout Puerto Rico and federal agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency have been involved in the process, as well.
Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will focus on Fort Buchanan’s challenges and threats, such as natural disasters and financial constraints. At the same time, the process will accentuate the installation’s strengths, such as its modernized infrastructure and bilingual workforce.
According to Colonel Guy D. Bass, Fort Buchanan Garrison Commander, secure resources and accessible assets translate into continued resilience for a post on a rather isolated island. “The unique geographical location of the installation, being ‘an island within an island,’ impacts our existing mission readiness capabilities that require resources away from the United States mainland and affects our response time to support our potential customers – both [in the] Department of Defense and [outside of the] Department of Defense – located on and off post,” explained Colonel Bass. “Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will assist Fort Buchanan by defining its needs, missions, customers and requirements that will help sustain the installation for years to come.”
Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will thoroughly address Fort Buchanan’s four long-term priorities, identified at the installation’s Long-Term Priority Setting Session in October 2018: 1) a world-class training complex, 2) high-performance sustainable facilities, 3) an organization of choice and 4) mutually beneficial strategic partnerships. A world-class training complex will meet current and future military training requirements. High-performance sustainable facilities will fulfill mission and readiness requirements with the energy, water and fuel capacity to sustain continuous operations for at least 30 days. An organization of choice will promote a healthy, resilient and ethical workforce and encourage the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of its team members. Finally, mutually beneficial strategic partnerships between Fort Buchanan, federal entities and community agencies will build on a shared culture of pride and trust to support responsible resource use throughout the region.
Fort Buchanan’s resulting Strategic Sustainability Plan will map a long-term planning horizon; engage key stakeholders; create a culture of sustainability; establish a system of governance; track short-term, measurable action plans; and identify resources. By the end of the year, the post will have a well-developed vision for its future: “a resilient installation that will synchronize all available resources such as its workforce, infrastructure, land and energy security,” said Colonel Bass.
“My hope for Fort Buchanan, as a result of participating in the Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning process, is that it has a plan that speaks specifically to its needs and challenges,” Brown added. “By identifying long-term visions and developing measurable action plans to meet its goals, every step along the way is a step towards a more resilient Fort Buchanan.”
“Ultimately, Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will maintain Fort Buchanan’s relevance; bolster their ability to adapt and respond to challenges; and create conservation-minded Soldiers, Civilians and Families that comprise a truly resilient force,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate’s Sustainment and Resiliency Division. “The process will also garner support for sustainability efforts at all levels of the Army Reserve and its communities, and it will increase our success in implementing sustainable practices Command-wide.” Wirt noted that Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning supports the Army Triple Bottom Line of Mission, Environment and Community, as well as the Army Communities of Excellence program.
Fort Buchanan has some unique challenges, but the installation’s ambitious goals, innovative programs and engaged residents secure its status as a model of readiness and resilience for the Army Reserve. The best, though, is yet to come. The entire region is ready to guide the future of the installation, and they are eager to see the fruits of their labor. Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning ensures that Fort Buchanan will be the “Sentinel of the Caribbean” for another century of successful service.