Initiative to identify cost-saving measures|
by Master Sgt. Michael Voss
Air University Public Affairs
5/2/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- Maxwell leadership met with Montgomery and Prattville city officials and local school and business leaders April 25 to identify possible cost-saving partnerships for the future.
The initial planning meeting, hosted by Col. Trent Edwards, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, was the base's first venture into the Air Force's Community Partnership Initiative, which is ongoing at 15 bases.
The initiative aims to create mutually beneficial alternatives that decrease financial burdens on bases and surrounding communities. By finding ways to match unmet needs with excess resources, the initiative seeks to fundamentally change the way the Air Force thinks about base operating support.
"The hope of this meeting stems from us finding better ways of using facilities and contracts both on base and within the community," said Edwards. "For example, to meet our [base infrastructure] footprint reduction efforts, our civil engineers are working to identify buildings that could be used for alternative missions or demolished. By using this initiative, we may be able to identify facilities that may be put to use by the community."
Maxwell is not the first base to employ installation-community partnership programs.
The Journal of Defense Communities reported the success of the "Monterey model" employed by the Defense Language Institute and the city of Monterey, Calif. According to the document, the Army was able to save millions of dollars a year by contracting with the city to provide base support services.
"It's all about partnership for us," Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said. "We partner with the city of Prattville. We partner with the base. We partner with local businesses."
Although the process of identifying, researching and planning the areas where the base and community can collaborate, such as development, education and tourism, will last several months, the results from the initial meeting were evident by the ideas generated.
"If we all work together, it's better for all of us," said Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie Jr.
Ideas brainstormed at the initial meeting that will be studied further included opening some on-base services to off-base civilians and allowing off-base medical practitioners to work closer with on-base medical staff.
"This is an opportunity to think big," said Edwards. "Nothing is off the table. We have an opportunity to work together and shape how an integrated civil-military community can look five years from now. This process seeks to identify unmet needs and excess resources and then figures out a way to match them up for the mutual benefit of the base and the River Region area."