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Published on Sep 23, 2007
Worldwide Army Transformation begins at Fort Lewis, Wash., and in Seattle District.
At at the top of priorities this year is the district's and Northwestern Division's support to the transformation initiative.
Seattle District moved aggressively last year to coordinate project designs with the Fort Lewis Directorate of Public Works team and Initial Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) program proponents. Design charrettes and the value engineering process were used to fast-track design development on this important program. Both architect-engineer and in-house project development teams were part of the effort.
"We're honored to be together with Fort Lewis at the leading edge of Army Transformation," said Col. Ralph Graves, Seattle District commander. "It's a challenge to deliver these projects on time and ensure that they prove the best support to the new formation. It's also good news that the Army recognizes that force modernization also requires facilities modernization."
Seattle has elected to advertise more than half of the program as design-build construction projects early in the fourth quarter, subject to availability of funds since congressional approval of funding takes place later in the year. Program manager Jim Clark emphasizes the critical need to turn over this infrastructure work, which will sustain the Army's new brigade conversion, quickly. "Hopefully, this will enable us to award in October, three to four months early," said Clark.
In Oct. 1999 Gen. Eric Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff announced the Army Transformation initiative, and selected two brigades at Fort Lewis for transition to IBCTs.
"Brigade conversion is a milestone on the road to transforming the entire Army into a force that is strategically responsive and dominant at every point on the spectrum of operations," Shinseki said. "The transformation of these two brigades at Fort Lewis, using current off-the-shelf technology, will give us an interim capability as we move toward our long-term goal of the objective force." (The objective force is the Army envisioned for 2032.)
An IBCT will have 3,500 soldiers organized in six battalions equipped with the light armored vehicle. The plans are for the Army to be able to send the force or any portion of it anywhere in the world within 96 hours, ready to fight on arrival.
The bulk of new Fort Lewis facilities' requirements fall into three types, said Clark:
Stationing -- Housing and maintenance facilities to support the new force structure.
Training -- Ranges and training facilities to prepare and support the combat teams.
Deployment -- Improvements in facilities needed to satisfy the power projection mission by inspecting and processing vehicles, munitions, cargo, and supplies to support sustained operations.
Eight IBCT projects are programmed for fiscal year 2002. They are two vehicle maintenance facilities, barracks, a combat vehicle trail, ammunition supply point expansion, deployment facilities, transportation inspection point, and container/pallet storage facilities.
Construction to support the IBCTs as already begun. Seattle District recently turned over a 48,000-square-foot Mission Support Training Facility to I Corps and Fort Lewis commander Lt. Gen. James Hill. The building will house the latest in Army tactical training technology, and was built in support of transformation training and objectives. More than 300 computers will provide simulators to a unit battle command system.