Visioning, Strategy and Assets of a Regional Support Command
The 63rd Regional Support Command adheres to a straightforward responsibility: "to virtually manage a network of flexibly designed facilities that balance standardization with innovation, maintaining a technological edge to serve Citizen Soldiers of the Operational Army and their families."
By Lt. Col. Mark E. Green, USA
The 63rd Regional Support Command (RSC), based at Moffett Field, Calif., supports five U.S. Army Reserve Operational, Functional, Training and Support Commands and 41 Direct Reporting Commands. More than 40,000 soldiers are assigned to units within the 63rd RSC’s Area of Responsibility, covering Arizona, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas.
The 63rd RSC provides base operations and planning responsibilities for all U.S. Army Reserve facilities within the Southwest Region. It focuses on command support functions, personnel support, soldier and family readiness programs, public works, facilities, maintenance support activities and resource management. The 63rd today is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Reserve Command.
MANAGING THE CYCLE OF ASSETS
The 63rd RSC maintains infrastructure valued at more than $1.1 billion. The Facility Planning Branches provide facility management planning support, to include construction, project development, real estate support and real property accountability. The cycle of the assets are always mitigated through criteria that identifies if the assets are to be sustained, enhanced, constructed or disposed of.
In recent Visioning Session for the 63rd RSC, a visioning narrative was developed. The draft of that narrative reads:
"The 63rd RSC virtually manages a network of flexibly designed facilities that balance standardization with innovation, maintaining a technological edge to serve Citizen Soldiers of the Operational Army and their families."
To meet that vision, the 63rd RSC has completed disposal of billions of dollars of insurable value in Reserve Centers across the United States in accordance with Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) law. Under DOD Directive 5734.01, the command is executing the disposals for a seven-state area for the Army Reserve in the Southwest. Tracking these disposals requires many types of screening, putting buildings into caretaker status, and completing environmental requirements, deed transfers, radiological surveys, equipment moves, asbestos surveys and historical property reviews prior to disposal.
A major responsibility of the Army Reserve Regional Support Command’s includes asset management as a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Reserve Command. The RSC has more than 8.5 million-ft² of real property and manages base operations infrastructure. The facilities in the Southwest region are comprised of associated buildings that are categorized, but not limited to, Organizational Maintenance Support, Area Maintenance Support Activities, Storage, Aviation Support Facilities, and the Armed Forces Reserve Center.
Inherent is the responsibility to maintain real property databases and records; program the acquisition of land and facilities either by purchase or lease; program the disposal of lands and facilities no longer required by the Army Reserve; and maintain real estate permits and licensing for land and facilities for Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD entities.
ACQUISITION, CONSTRUCTION AND DISPOSAL
Asset management requires constant updates due to disposals, acquisition and construction. Real Property Planning Boards are used each year to validate critical asset requirements with the 63rd RSC. Under Base Realignment and Closure, DOD Directive 5734.01, the 63rd closed the doors and vacated 65 locations on time by the deadline provided by law. Then the work of conveyance began. Units were moved or consolidated into other locations and the type of transfer drove the required reports, approvals and conveyance. The required documentation for real estate, environmental, safety, outside agencies is massive depending on the type of conveyance and has to be complete prior to deed transfer or government transfer.
Some of the work, once the building is empty, can include environmental surveys, deed transfer documentation, and assignment letters and include every level of government all the way to the Secretary of the Army’s office. Of all RSCs, the 63rd had more disposals than any other. The 63rd has disposed of 62 of the 67 disposals and all centers were closed on time. Since July 2012, 33 BRAC disposal actions have been completed and transferred at a Plant Replacement Value of approximately $230 million.
Dealing with real estate documents sometimes 50 years old or more, where properties have transferred multiple times, requires extensive research into cost data and can present challenges with disposal. Easements and other agreements must be researched and requires technical knowledge of senior real estate specialist’s form the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Army. The legal and environmental landscape has changed. This demands additional costs and time to dispose of assets.
Based on current Army Strategic Planning Guidance, the Army Reserve must adjust programs to live within our current resource constraints. The strategic objectives are to provide flexible, cost-effective responsive and adaptive facilities that will sustain the Army Family Covenant, enhance energy and water security and sustainability strategies, and provide the proper infrastructure to support the total force. Providing the best in installation facilities, environmental stewardship and quality of life for our facility occupant’s civilian and military alike is always a goal in asset management.
IMPLEMENTING A NEW DATABASE
One major change to how assets are now tracked is the Army Reserve’s requirement to populate and use a new database of record. The required training, validation of old data and creation of asset folders is time and labor intensive, as is the adding of new assets and coding. The business practice changes have created some lag to establish work processes, training of the workforce and collecting of documents and data for assets. Due to the large amount of construction over the past five years and the major changes to the database of record for the Army, is has proven to be no easy task due to the complexity of coding in the new database of record with the necessary data for each asset.
Once the scope of the task was identified, the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate provided additional support and also facilitated a total review of real estate processes and internal controls to manage such a large task. Transparency of the former real property management controls made way for new improvements and collaboration at every level. Internal controls and the new process flow have become the way forward for asset management from the field to book side. All four RSCs assembled to create these internal controls in a collective forum. The finalized controls are, and will be, used to validate our asset management processes and prepare for the Chief Financial Officers Act audit coming up for the Army.
Asset management of our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is also an area being used to generate multiple GIS layers for inventory and use. To ensure the assets are accurate, the 63rd RSC is working with the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate to create initiatives for creating the Capital Improvement Plan layers for GIS and assisting the contracted architects, engineers and planners in development of the data with the use of new software to manage asset space allocation and floor plans beginning in 2015.
A positive impact of our asset management collection is the development of a new internal standard operating procedure for collection methods for physical Real Property Inventories. Out of this development has come the idea of using handheld inventory collection devices and, possibly in the future, bar coded systems that will improve how Real Property Inventories are completed.
On the energy sustainability side, the 63rd RSC has worked hard to utilize the latest in energy and water conservation technologies that will reduce our consumption of natural resources. We have adapted multiple locations using native vegetation that require low water requirements. One of our recent projects in Los Alamitos, Calif., was awarded LEED Gold Certification. The Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex was selected by to be the flagship for the Army Reserve’s “Sustainable Installation” program. The future in upgrades of this location will be in line with the latest sustainable technologies.
The improvement of our existing assets is aligned with the collective sustainment goals of the Army Reserve. Planned energy projects also become assets that are captured due to their capitalized cost. Photovoltaic energy is being used at Garden Grove and Los Alamitos, Calif.; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Sloan, Nev., among other locations. The 63rd, using progressive architecture and engineer firms and contractors, has tapped into geothermal design for heating and cooling at Fort Sill, Okla., and Bryant, Texas. The Command Engagement team of the 63rd has assisted in reaching out to various emerging market companies to look for emerging technologies and alternative energy ideas.
One recent success story is that the 63rd RSC was under the California Energy Commissions renewable energy programs and will be rebated approximately $400,000 through the implementation of an Energy Rebate Program offered by the state.
The work to keep the assets we obtain is a complex task. The 63rd participates in many different venues to master plan its infrastructure. Partnering with other services is done during our Joint Reserve Component Facility Boards to look for opportunities each year with all seven states to save taxpayer money when we find joint opportunities. The 63rd RSC evaluates and re-evaluates validating Military Construction Army Reserve priorities and requirements per the Army Facility Investment Strategy guidance. Critical requirements and shortfalls in assets by the Installation Status Report and the Real Property Planning and Analysis System support our projects development to determine the mix of assets and find the enduring and non-enduring locations we will keep or dispose of well into the future. Visioning sessions are done to find efficiencies in adding or disposing of assets. Asset management in the near term will be affected by the reduction of Military Construction Army Reserve dollars that will require increases in sustainment, restoration and maintenance funding.
The last initiative being worked on is a part of our Capital Investment Strategy. The 63rd RSC staff, assisted by a contractor, developed the “Ideal USAR Site.” It is a result of collective effort of a discussion on what the ideal functional layout is with regard to location and access to resources and labor. We consider the ideal site will function most efficiently when soldiers and staff can access maintenance and training components as needed with minimal time and effort. To create an ideal layout, key leaders discussed functional relationships and defined acceptable distances and adjacencies among them. This functional layout includes appropriate supporting infrastructure.
Asset management is a critical task for Army Reserve planners and real estate personnel and is an ever-evolving fiscally responsible requirement that will keep the maintenance, utilities, construction and environmental services fiscally captured.
Our readiness requires it to justify these requirements and manage the facilities to meet the mission. The initiatives the 63rd have created in this visioning will play a vital role in the future.