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Strategic planning workshop charts future of Joint Base San Antonio

May 5, 2011

By Steve Elliott

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Military and civilian leaders from the 502nd Air Base Wing, Fort Sam Houston, and Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases gathered recently for a strategic planning workshop to chart the future of Joint Base San Antonio.

The workshop - conducted as part of the ongoing process for the JBSA Integrated Master Plan - was held April 25 through 27 at the City Public Service Energy Management and Training Center located near the post.

It was a diverse group of decision-makers from the Joint Base Partnership Council consisting of major mission partners and mission support group commanders that got together to work with professional facilitators and physical planners to craft a vision for JBSA - today and into the future.

"The reason for the workshop was to start developing a vision of what JBSA might look like in 2030," said Col. Mary Garr, 502nd Mission Support Group commander. "The 502nd Air Base Wing brought in some community partners, including CPS Energy, San Antonio Water System, Defense Transformation Institute, City of San Antonio International and Economic Development and others to interact with leaders at FSH, Lackland, and Randolph at a CPS hosted ice-breaker April 25.

"In small and large group forums held on April 26 and 27, the attendees had a chance to discuss opportunities and potential future paths for JBSA, some of them locally driven and others based on future DOD policy and infrastructure," Garr added.

"We are in the early stages of a 16-month process of building a master plan for Joint Base San Antonio that will set the stage for shaping our future," said Debra Harkiewicz, 502nd ABW Director of Civil Engineering. "In these meetings, we were able to highlight the important things our mission partners need to do their missions into the future."

"We gained perspective about concerns and opportunities at each of the installations with JBSA and had a chance to see where they were similar or different as they considered future decisions on installation support across JBSA," Garr said.

Also included were breakout exercise sessions for groups from the three installations to envision where their respective bases would be in 2030 and talk about how they would get to that point.

The strategic planning workshop was facilitated by a team of six planning experts from AECOM, a Los Angeles-based global provider of professional technical and management support services, which has been contracted to help build the JBSA master plan and find the most innovative and appropriate solutions to create, enhance and sustain it.

Since the 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA came into full operational capability in October 2010, this workshop held a special immediacy in the context of multiple ongoing strategic efforts.

"There are more meetings planned in the next 16 months where we will bring in even more of our mission partners, as well as leaders from the local community and the private sector," Harkiewicz said.

"There are a lot of commonalities in what we want to achieve such as operational efficiencies, energy conservation, and finding better ways to conduct business."

Issues regarding the Canyon Lake Recreation Area, Seguin Auxiliary Airfield and Camp Bullis were also discussed, as well as the three military installations making up Joint Base San Antonio.

The master plan will establish the framework for decision-making with regard to the future development of Joint Base San Antonio, incorporating elements such as operational, environmental, urban planning and quality of life.

"This workshop is an initial step in future strategic planning across JBSA," Garr said. "It will be valuable as it pulls together all major mission partners in helping to develop strategic installation support planning and opportunities."

Feedback from the icebreaker and workshop participants was very positive, Harkiewicz said.

Community leaders were pleased to be included in the visioning efforts and expressed support of JBSA.

"At the end of the vision session, the mission support groups and mission partners got a chance to express their take-ways from the session. There was overwhelming support of the multi-day process and everyone thought the workshop was a success and a great way to share ideas and challenges and to effectively build on our future planning efforts," Harkiewicz said.

"One thing that this session did was highlight that we don't know what we don't know. Building communication like this is the key to the future of JBSA."

This project will help in developing a web-based comprehensive Installation Master Plan (IMP) and Capital Investment Plan (CIP) for Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA).

This plan will address the relationships between the installations and the functional areas within to integrate them into a comprehensive long-term regional plan.

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