If commands came with a theme, mine would be about caring.
I believe that to be effective, you first have to care about yourself. You have to care about your loved ones and about our nation. I also believe you have to care about our military, our profession and the organization you are a part of.
If you care about all of these things, if it comes from the heart, I believe you can be effective at whatever you do.
That was how I started my first commander’s column in Soundoff! three years ago. It seems like three weeks ago, and it also seems like a lifetime.
Three years ago, I knew I had been honored and privileged by my selection to lead the garrison at Fort Meade, but I didn’t really know what was ahead.
Today, three years later, I look back at what has been by far the best and most gratifying job I have had in 26 years. It has been that way because I have never worked with a group of people who care as much as the men and women of Fort Meade.
The members of our Team Meade community, those who work in the garrison, those who work in the partner organizations stationed here, those who live in our wonderful community, all care profoundly about our nation and its defense.
So as I write now, I look back with great satisfaction at what we have accomplished by caring and being effective.
We have put Fort Meade on the Army map.
Three years ago, when I assumed this position, the chief of strategic planning for Army Installation Management Command did not know which Army fort was home to U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.
Since then, we have widened the aperture of discussion from “Growth of Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon” in Georgia to “Joint Service Cyber Growth on Army Installations — Meade, Gordon and Belvoir.”
IMCOM has hosted seven Cyber Installation Support Summits, and the eighth will be back at Fort Meade in September.
We have received a total of $141 million in Sustainment, Restoration and Maintenance funding (far, far more than any other Army fort); $35 million in military construction funding; and approval to hire 25 additional permanent employees on the garrison staff.
With this money, we will rebuild the Reece and Mapes gates, and widen Reece Road from two to four lanes. We are also rebuilding Hale Hall, fully renovating Van Demon Hall, and conducted a list of road re-surfacing and restoration projects that would take up the entire newspaper to describe.
Hiring of the new employees has begun, and we reopened the Mapes Road Gate this spring after finally achieving 100 percent fill of our authorized security guard positions, an effort that took 2 ? years to achieve.
We built and opened a new Exchange, a new Candlewood Suites Hotel, two new day care facilities, and a garden-style apartment complex for single service members and civilians. The construction of Reece Crossings is two-thirds complete and will continue into 2017.
We are constructing a modern, four-lane access control point at the Rockenbach Road gate, and partnered with the state of Maryland to attain full funding for Route 175 to be widened to a six-lane highway.
Work on these efforts will continue in the years ahead, and the infrastructure on Fort Meade will be modernized to support the growth that continues on the USCYBERCOM campus.
When all is said and done, 10 years from now there will be 17,000 people working on the location of the former Fort Meade golf course, with the Integrated Cyber Center and High Capacity Data Center serving as the focal point of our national defense in cyber space, the world’s 21st-century domain of human conflict and competition.
All of this important work is gratifying to have achieved, and is testament to the hard work and partnership of every member of Team Meade. But it all pales in comparison to the gratitude I feel at being able to help so many members of our community. Caring for and educating our children, keeping our community safe and secure, providing world-class recreation and support services and a beautiful place to live and work, these aspects of the job have meant the most to me.
So on behalf of my wife, Lee, our children Liam and Mary Claire, and our dog Buddy, I thank you all for making the past three years the best of our lives. We look forward to remaining here in the Team Meade community and sustaining what is truly most valuable to us in life — your friendship.
Please give Col. Tom Rickard and his family the same friendship, partnership and support you have given the Foleys, and in my next job as chief of Strategic Initiatives for Installation Management on the Army staff, I pledge to keep the eyes of senior leaders in the Pentagon focused right where they need to be — here at Fort Meade!
We hope to see you at the change of command today at 9 a.m. at McGlachlin Parade Field.
And as always, I’ll see you around campus!