THE INSTALLATION OF THE FUTURE: FORT BUCHANAN SETS ITS SIGHTS ON LONG-TERM PLANNING

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.

ARMY RESERVE SUSTAINABILITY PROFESSIONALS PARTICIPATE IN ENERGY SUMMIT

Story by Jonelle Kimbrough
Strategic Communicator, Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

Paul SSCES Quote

Two sustainability professionals from the United States Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate participated in the 2018 Sandhills Clean Energy Summit on March 9 and 10 near Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch, delivered the event’s key note speech. Heather Brown, Senior Sustainability Advisor, delivered a presentation on renewable energy projects in the Army Reserve.

The Sandhills Clean Energy Summit is an initiative of Sustainable Sandhills, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability on and in the region surrounding Fort Bragg.

Now in its fourth year, the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit featured participants from the State of North Carolina, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Works, Duke Energy, and Sierra Club.

Hanah Ehrenreich, Executive Director of Sustainable Sandhills, chose the Army Reserve to join such an esteemed group of participants because the Command has developed a far-reaching reputation for cutting-edge programs and notable accomplishments.

“The Sandhills region of North Carolina is a hub for military- and community-led sustainability planning,” she said. “The Army Reserve has demonstrated leadership in sustainability that supports Army infrastructure, clean technology, and mission readiness.”

Sustainable Sandhills has personal connections to the Army Reserve as well. When Wirt was Chief of the Environmental Management Branch at Fort Bragg’s Directorate of Public Works, his team was instrumental in the development and implementation of Sustainable Sandhills as an integral part of the installation’s sustainability initiative. Brown served as Development Director for the organization from December 2007 until December 2010.

For Wirt and Brown, the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit was a prime opportunity to impart the Army Reserve’s successes, share its innovative approaches with a broad audience, and build important partnerships with community agencies.

“Energy and water are critical to nearly every aspect of the Army Reserve’s mission,” said Wirt. “Yet, we face many threats to our resources. We must secure our energy and water assets, for now and for the future. Clean energy will be a key component of our holistic initiatives, as we push the Army Reserve toward true resilience and even energy and water independence. We were pleased to share our energy and water visions with our colleagues in sustainability at this event, and we were especially honored to do so in the Fort Bragg community, which could be considered the ‘cradle of sustainability’ for the entire Army.”

“Almost 800 Army Reserve Centers are located in communities across the country,” Brown added. “It is imperative that we maintain strong relationships with community organizations such as Sustainable Sandhills to ensure that we are good neighbors and stewards. These communities support the Army Reserve with Soldiers, their Families, and their resources. We’re all ultimately striving to reach one goal: to be sustainable and resilient in the face of ever-changing challenges. By sharing successes, lessons learned, and expertise with each other, we are building enduring relationships that benefit both the Army Reserve and the communities that we serve.”

At the Sandhills Clean Energy Summit, Addison “Tad” Davis introduced Wirt as the key note presenter. Davis is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and the Environment. He is also a founding and current member of the Sustainable Sandhills Board of Directors.

Wirt and Brown discussed the Army Reserve’s multifaceted energy and water security efforts in their presentations. In accordance with its Energy Security and Water Security Implementation Strategies, the Command is striving to reduce its energy and water use, increase its energy and water efficiency, leverage renewable and alternative energy and water sources, and create a culture of resource-conscious Soldiers, Civilians, and Families. The Army Reserve as a whole reduced its energy use intensity by 17.7 percent in fiscal year 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline, and it has reduced its water use intensity by 43 percent since fiscal year 2007. Advanced technologies such as automated building controls and rainwater harvesting pilots improved the energy and water efficiency of its facilities. Eighty renewable energy projects – including solar arrays and wind turbines – generated nearly 48 million British Thermal Units of power for the enterprise last year.

The Army Reserve’s energy and water initiatives will bolster the Command’s energy and water security and enhance its readiness. According to Ehrenreich, the enterprise’s achievements and lessons learned will also contribute to the cause of clean energy throughout the state of North Carolina.

“North Carolina has great capacity for solar, wind, and biogas energy production,” she explained. “At the Clean Energy Summit this year, we focused on the goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050. The military has directly experienced the benefits of implementing renewable technologies in garrisons, and the use of renewable technologies has reduced and prevented security impacts across the globe. We were excited to learn best management practices from the Army Reserve.”

Visit sustainablesandhills.org for more information about sustainability in the Fort Bragg region.

ARMY RESERVE SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAMS BRANCH DELIVERS ANNUAL COMMAND BRIEF

Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

The United States Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch delivered their annual command brief to Mr. Jordan Gillis, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and the Environment, on February 14, 2018.

The presentation covered the Army Reserve’s accomplishments in energy, water, solid waste management and environmental quality in fiscal year 2017 and defined a “path forward” for the future. Featured projects included Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning, energy and water security investments, and awareness initiatives.

The brief lauded the Command’s achievements. Notably, the enterprise achieved a 17.7 percent reduction in energy use intensity in fiscal year 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline. The reduction translates into a cost avoidance of over $6 million, or the cost of nine named training missions. The Army Reserve has also reduced its water use intensity by 43 percent, compared to the 2007 baseline.

According to Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Sustainability Programs Branch, the Command’s sustainability initiatives have been successful because the Army Reserve focuses on “true” sustainability. “The Army Reserve maintains comprehensive and integrated strategies for every program through execution plans that establish a systematic, deliberate path to success,” he explained. Wirt also praised a dedicated staff and an engaged field, referring to their “passion and commitment to make the Army Reserve the very best it can be.”

In the years to come, readiness and mission resilience will be the primary focus of Army Reserve sustainability efforts. Wirt sees the future as an opportunity to incorporate sustainable practices holistically across the entire Command. “We want to achieve a conservation mindset, reduce consumption, increase cost avoidance, harness new technology, meet Federal reduction standards and become Net Zero wherever possible,” Wirt said.  “But, our top priority is to posture our critical facilities for energy and water security and independence. Ultimately, we need to operate for long periods of time – if not indefinitely – off the grid so that the Army Reserve can best mobilize, train and deploy our nation’s fighting force today, tomorrow and forever.”

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