A high-ranking Army leader called Redstone Arsenal a “gem” during his recent visit to tour the installation.
“It’s good to see Army leaders trust and empower their Garrison commanders to run what is in effect a small city and provide the services their tenants and residents need,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations Bryan Gossage said. “The diversity of tenants and importance of their work at Redstone Arsenal has a unique place in both Army history and the Army’s future – it’s a gem in the Army installation crown.”
According to Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith, the visit was important because it provided Redstone an opportunity to show Gossage how the post contributes to the Army’s primary mission. It also provided an opportunity for the assistant secretary to see how the policies he’s responsible for impact installations on the ground level.
The tour included various stops at Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation services, post housing and meetings with leaders at Redstone.
“Redstone is posturing itself for the future,” Kelsey Smith said. “It’s wisely using its resources to invest in our infrastructure and make our infrastructure ready to receive the next tenant, or the next technological advance so that we can continue to build on the innovation that we’ve already demonstrated.”
For example, since 2003, the post has reduced its energy consumption by 23% while growing by 56%, according to Smith.
That’s a significant saving. For 2015, that savings totaled just over $6 million.
Now, thanks to a new policy put in place by the deputy secretary’s office, installations will get to realize a portion, about $3.6 million, according to Smith, of that savings at the local level and reinvest it in continued infrastructure improvements, “which would allow us to continue the cost reduction,” he said.
Gossage’s tour of Redstone highlighted the Child Development Center and several other MWR programs and facilities, which showed Redstone’s unique approach to some of the MWR programs that don’t cost the Army any money.
“MWR is very different in that there are things like the gyms … that operate for zero profit,” Smith said. “But we also have other programs within our portfolio like golf, bowling, arts and crafts and those things that we’re very proud of here at Redstone Arsenal because we don’t require any additional dollars from the Army to provide those services.
“Those services pay for themselves, much like any other business, and Redstone Arsenal has been leading the way in that respect for the last couple of years.”
For the past two years, Redstone has not taken any subsidies from the Army for a number of the MWR programs like the auto skills center, arts and crafts studio and the boat rentals.
“We wanted to be able to show those off because if we can do it here, I’m certain we can do it elsewhere,” Smith said. “And where we can use our revenues to reduce a burden on the taxpayer and still provide the service, well, then that should certainly be replicated elsewhere, and it would make more monies available for those other subsidized services.”
The post housing was another highlight on the tour. The party, which also included in addition to Gossage, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations and Energy Jennifer Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability Jack Surash and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Strategic Integration Richard Kidd visited a variety of homes used to house active duty Soldiers on post.
“It was clear that quality of life initiatives, including housing, are a top priority for Redstone leadership, who were well-versed in all aspects of housing,” Gossage said. “Quality of life for our Soldiers is a top priority for the Army, and good working relationships, open lines of communication and a proactive posture are 100% the right approach.”