Garrison Commander William Clark said Fort Riley will fare well with the Army’s new fiscal reality as he spoke to community leaders during the Military Affairs Council Breakfast Feb. 23 at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel and Geary County Convention Center.
“We are in a time of change, obviously within our country and our Army as well, but I’ll tell you that your installation and your division is postured very well as we go forward,” Clark said. “From an infrastructure perspective, program perspective, service perspective and community support perspective, we are postured very well as the Army looks to change itself in the upcoming days.”
Clark said Fort Riley has had to be frugal; the Garrison budget alone is 18 percent less this year than last year – a $33-million difference. The civilian and contract workforces are shrinking, too, he said, in part because of the Army dramatically slowing down construction for the next four or five years.
Despite the Army’s budget cuts, Clark said Fort Riley’s economic impact on the Central Flint Hills Region is expected to stay just under $2 billion for the next couple years. He also said the installation is not slowing down with the modernization of the division.
To keep programs going to support Soldiers and Families, Clark said Fort Riley leadership is looking to more fully utilize existing resources through maintenance, restoration and modernization.
“We will have one of the most modernized divisions in the entire U.S. Army within the next 18 months, which is great, and we have a division that is ready,” Clark said.
With all five brigades home, Fort Riley is in a good position to make use of the new fiscal norm through Soldier skill set utilization, Clark explained. The post plans to employ Soldiers on home dwell time and utilize their skill sets for programs and services on the installation, while maintaining brigade readiness.
Soldiers from the Warrior Transition Battalion will be included in this plan, Clark said.
With the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and about a third of the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion trained, ready and certified to deploy, Fort Riley is still an adaptive and responsive installation, Clark said.
He listed Fort Riley’s state-of-the-art training and simulation facilities, rapid deployment capabilities, easy access to regional transportation hubs, buildable acreage with negligible encroachment and continued regional training partnerships as positive indicators of the 1st Infantry Division’s continued wellbeing.
“When the Army looks at Fort Riley and our ability to deploy quickly to meet the needs of our nation, we can do that, and that’s the mission that we’re sending up to the senior leaders of the Army right now is that Fort Riley is postured very well today as we go forward,” Clark said.
Speaking on the value of community partnerships, Clark said Fort Riley is looking to talk to the local communities about how to work together more efficiently. Leveraging resources from the post and the community to partner effectively from an economic perspective is the way to make the new fiscal reality more viable to become more profitable, he said. Combining resources like libraries, golf courses and bowling, Clark said could be beneficial for all parties.
Clark also said he is evaluating how to meet the needs of the post more efficiently and address continuous challenges with transportation, housing and schools with the help of an advisory board, comprised of a cross section of Soldiers, spouses, civilians and retirees.
The next MAC Breakfast will be at 7:30 a.m. March 22 at the Courtyard by the Marriott Hotel and Geary County Convention Center.
By Pamela Redford
1st Inf. Div. Post
Pamela Redford | POST
Fort Riley Garrison Commander William Clark speaks about the U.S. Army’s new fiscal reality Feb. 23 during the MAC breakfast at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel and Geary County Convention Center, Junction City. Fort Riley is adapting to the “new norm” and is postured well going into the future, Clark said.