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News > Joint Base preparation stays on steady course
Joint Base preparation stays on steady course

Posted 8/21/2009   Updated 8/21/2009 Email story   Print story

    


by 1st Lt. Joe Wingard
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/21/2009 - MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE -- -- Development of Joint Base Lewis-McChord reached a signifi cant milestone this week with the expected signing of the Memorandum of Agreement by the vice chiefs of them Army and Air Force. 

The MOA was developed locally and fi nalized in May after months of work by McChord and Fort Lewis leadership and key staff agencies from both bases. The MOA outlines in general scope how the two services will work together as the Joint Base forms in 2010. 

The next step in development of JBLM has been underway since May as key staff agencies continue to work closely to prepare detailed plans consolidating
installation support functions of McChord and the Fort Lewis Garrison into a Joint
Base structure. These plans will be assembled in one document that will form an operational plan. 

The OPLAN is a key document in implementing the MOA. 

"The idea of the OPLAN is not to plan the daily operations of organizations, it's really designed to detail how they are going to merge," said Lt. Col. Joseph Snow, deputy director of the JBLM Initiative. "We need to determine how we are going to consolidate and become a Joint Base. We all have a responsibility to figure out how that will be done, and in fact many teams from both installations have been working very long hours to develop quality products." 

To date, approximately 14 of 22 specifi c OPLAN annexes addressing key JBLM installation support functions have been completed. Those that remain primarily require review that is already scheduled to occur. 

The 62nd Communications Squadron, a key service provider of the future JBLM information management function, has worked with their Fort Lewis counterparts on development of a communications annex since May. 

"We've been working together quite well and are in contact each week concerning subjects that are being written into our annex," said Charles Hawthorne, 62nd CS deputy director. "This has been a benefi cial process and we both have a mutual understanding
of how we will support customers on the Joint Base. We anticipate a final annex review
on Aug. 29." 

As development of the OPLAN continues, the JB Partnership Council continues to prepare for the future. A three-day JBLM table top exercise is scheduled to start Wednesday. The exercise has been locally developed to simulate predictable
stresses to installation support functions that could occur on JBLM. Representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Army and Air Force higher headquarters will observe the event. 

The event is the fi rst JBLM exercise and is to be led by the future JBLM Command Team, Army Col. Thomas Brittain, future JBLM commander, and Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon, future JBLM deputy commander. Colonel Brittain currently serves as the Fort Lewis Garrison commander and Colonel Weldon currently serves as McChord's 62nd Mission
Support Group commander. 

Following the exercise, Joint Base planners will study the results to ensure lessons learned are documented for consideration in future JB plans. 

The exercise, documentation of lessons learned and the continued development of the OPLAN are the next tangible steps leading to signing of the JBLM OPLAN by Colonel Brittain and Colonel Weldon, currently scheduled for Nov. 12. 

Once the OPLAN is signed, the JB team will prepare an operational order to carry out the OPLAN -- the fi nal step in implementing the MOA. The OPORD is scheduled to be signed by Colonel Brittain Jan. 14 and JBLM will reach initial operating capability Jan. 31.



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