Transitions are often the hardest thing for any command to execute. This past week, AP Hill flawless executed significant transitions in operations due to Hurricane Sandy. The week began with the installation transitioning into crisis contingency operations, continuing through recovery operations, and finishing with a return to steady state operations. An absolutely superb performance by everyone to ensure the safety of our personnel and facilities to begin the week and then return to our normal operations by the end of the week without issue. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the storm and hope for a safe and speedy recovery for all.
Some highlights from last week:
1. Emergency Management. AP Hill executed a flawless transition from steady state to contingency operations to prepare for and recover from the impacts of Hurricane Sandy. We are grateful that our planning and preparation did not necessarily result in a wholesale execution of contingency operations locally, however, I am fully confident they we were postured to execute should conditions have warranted. Key to our success was cross-directorate coordination and communications that synchronized efforts and covered all contingencies and readiness items. Similarly, our recovery operation was executed effectively with the combined team of DPW, DES, and DPTMS confirming that road conditions, utilities, and structures were safe and operational to allow AP Hill to return to full operations by mid-week. As with every operation, we will conduct After Action Reviews to ensure lessons learned are captured and improve our readiness and execution for any future events.
2. Training Support. As a Regional Training Center, we support challenging & realistic training for a diverse training population that includes top tier units & organizations from our special operations community; conventional active duty, national guard, and reserve units from across the joint force; and multiple interagency organizations & activities. Last week, AP
Hill’s training support was adversely impacted by weather conditions at the beginning of the week. We should expect our training effort to resume to normal conditions next week as units return to their normal training and readiness status.
3. Restructure Forum. As part of our installation’s on-going capacity & capability build effort, we conducted our periodic Restructure Forum to review manning conditions across the installation and determine where we should prioritize our hiring efforts. Last week’s goal was two-fold. First, we reviewed critical manning requirements such that we correctly prioritize our efforts and seek critical hiring support in areas that we have assumed greatest risk to our mission support. Second, we initiated a methodical process to establish the most effective installation organization allowing us to effectively and efficiently complete our mission. Both these efforts support an on-going process with an endstate goal of putting effective measures (hiring and organizational structure) in place by early next calendar year. We have enjoyed a series of recent successes in our critical hiring process with IMCOM fully supporting our efforts. We must continue to ensure valid requirements exist and then justify those requirements with quantitative and qualitative measures.
4. Community Wellness. AP Hill executed several community wellness activities this past week greatly contributing to our strong AP Hill Family bond. On 31 OCT, we conducted our traditional “Trunk or Treat” event. I would like to thank everyone for the great participation and the weather certainly supported the great turnout. Between the decorated “trunks,” haunted hay ride, bouncy house, kids activities area, and haunted house, I believe the AP Hill children (young and old alike) enjoyed some good hometown fun! Like to reiterate my special thanks to the MWR, DPW, and DES staff and workforce that pulled this event together despite the storm shortened preparation period. I have attached some photos from this event for your viewing pleasure.
On 1 NOV, we kicked off our Combined Federal Campaign drive with the “Great AP Hill Chili & Bake Cookoff.” Certainly was a close competition with the great variety and unique tastes, smells, and colors. In the end, Ms. Marci Norris, representing Director of Logistics, was the grand prize winner. Congratulations to our other finalists, Ms. Witzel (Fire Dept) and Ms. Skinner (Resource Management) as well as everyone who participated in this event for a job well done. In the end, the Judges were probably the biggest winners having enjoyed the opportunity to taste each and every entry (some of them twice)! Also, many thanks to Ms. Cindy Tate, AP Hill’s CFC Coordinator, who coordinated the event for AP Hill and ensured our success!!! Remember no contribution is too large or too small and hope that all have an opportunity to give to the charity or organization of their choice.
Two physical wellness events closed our week with the rescheduled Halloween 5K Fun Run on 2 NOV and the annual AP Hill Volksmarch on 4 NOV. Both events were well attended by the AP Hill Family and glad to have the Fredericksburg Volksmarch Club participate on Sunday’s event. As the holiday season continues to grow, we look forward to several important upcoming events to include our Veterans Day Ceremony (8 NOV), our Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner (14 NOV), and the Holiday Party (12 DEC). The planning committees for each of these events have done a phenomenal job in preparing and firmly believe that our AP Hill Family will enjoy these opportunities to gather and join in the festivities.
My priorities for next week are:
1. Support/execution of challenging & realistic training for both tenant & rotational training units. As we return to a normal rotational schedule, we plan to support 25 units and nearly 4500 Warriors in the upcoming week.
2. Rescheduled from last week, AP Hill will execute its first Civilian Training & Education Council (6 NOV). We are looking to establish rigor in our existing program with a goal to enhance education & training opportunities across the workforce. Improved tracking mechanisms and identifying opportunities for enhanced training and education will inherently improve our installation’s efficiency, capacity, and capability. Additionally, individuals will enhance career progression opportunities and serve as experts in their professional field. The Civilian Training & Education Council represents a cross-section of our installation directorates and champions efforts to identify, improve, and enhance our holistic training & education approach.
3. AP Hill Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention and Response (SHARP) Training is scheduled for execution on 7 NOV with 2 x sessions available (0900-1100 & 1300-1500). The Army’s SHARP program reinforces our commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault through a comprehensive policy centered on awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting, and accountability. Army policy promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes. The goals of SHARP are:
▪ Create a climate that minimizes sexual assault incidents which impact our personnel, Army civilians and family members, and, if an incident should occur, ensure that victims and subjects are treated according to Army policy.
▪ Create a climate that encourages victims to report incidents of sexual assault without fear.
▪ Establish sexual assault prevention training and awareness programs to educate the force.
▪ Ensure sensitive and comprehensive treatment to restore victims’ health and well-being.
▪ Ensure leaders understand their roles and responsibilities regarding response to sexual assault victims, thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual assault and take appropriate administrative and disciplinary action.
4. Senior Commander Visit. Rescheduled from last week, we will host our Senior Commander with a goal to maximize this opportunity to showcase our incredible workforce and capabilities on the installation. Agenda and requirements are forthcoming to ensure readiness.
5. Strategic Planning. Rescheduled from last week, the Planning Team will review the significant outcomes from our last session to include mission statement and installation values. We will also review the outcomes of our Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threat (SWOT) assessment with a goal of identifying those critical elements that we will focus on over the next 3-5 years. Finally, we begin establishing actions/objectives along a timeline such that our efforts are prioritized within our mission set. I have attached a couple of documents that I encourage you to review which represent my notes, thoughts, and ideas for strategic plan development. I welcome any insights that you might offer to aid in our efforts as I fully endorse top-down planning with bottom-up refinement to ensure we are “ALL IN” to execute our plan.
6. I strongly encourage everyone to take the opportunity on Tuesday to vote in local, state, and national level elections. Your single vote makes a difference in shaping the future of our nation and is a privilege that should not be taken lightly or for granted. We will afford appropriate time for all employees wishing to cast their ballot on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s Staff Call will be Staff Focused and there are no current Special Topic areas for discussion.
Thanks again for all you do every day to ensure AP Hill’s success.
“Bring Hill Up!!!”
Peter E. Dargle
USAG Fort A.P. Hill Commander