Meade’s All-Star Teamwork: A Constellation of Partners

Commander's Column

Garrison Commander Col. Tom Rickard

Last Saturday, Fort Meade’s Child and Youth Services hosted our 13th year of recognizing Saturday Scholars – children in second through fifth grades seeking tutoring for six weeks in the fall and in the spring from military volunteer tutors

On behalf of the entire Team Meade, I want to thank Cryptologic Warfare Group 6 for spearheading this event each year and providing the vast majority of the 40 military tutors — including USAF and USA military tutors – who dedicated at least four hours each Saturday to improve young minds and demonstrate character.

A very special thank you goes to PO1 Nicholas Ticali, who has led the charge for the tutors since he began tutoring in 2011. He exemplifies selfless service and received a standing ovation from the parents and children attending.

The Saturday Scholars program is just a small example directly connected to the big idea: The power of teamwork is greater than the sum of individual contributions.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis summarized a portion of our 2018 National Defense Strategy with the following:

“A more lethal, resilient, and rapidly innovating Joint Force, combined with a robust constellation of allies and partners, will sustain American influence and ensure favorable balances of power that safeguard the free and open international order. Collectively, our force posture, alliance and partnership architecture, and department modernization will provide the capabilities and agility required to prevail in conflict and preserve peace through strength.”

That “constellation of allies and partners” is the same concept that keeps Fort Meade operating. We are the Army’s second largest installation — nearly 55,000 strong. But unlike other large Army installations, we are an eco-system of complex, specialized units and agencies serving many different headquarters.

Also, unlike other Army installations, Fort Meade has grown its population by more than 50 percent since 2009, but has lost more than 25 percent of its garrison staff over the same period. More people to support, but fewer to support them.

Without the team of teams approach, Fort Meade will fade quickly. The Army tells me to do “less with less,” but the U.S. government will soon establish the 10th Combatant Command – U.S. Cyber Command – at Fort Meade and will add 3,000 more cyber-related employees in the next five years.

How do we attract the nation’s best talent of specially trained operators by doing “less with less”? The answer is that the garrison simply cannot run the installation without the “constellation of allies and partners” – the cooperative support from tenant units, local partners and outstanding volunteers.

We are all in this together.

This week, we are proud to recognize one critical part of that constellation – our amazing volunteers. Tonight, we will honor our 3,226 volunteers for the incredible 46,300 documented hours totaling more than $1,200,537 worth of volunteer services.

We are proud that our volunteer corps consists of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen – active, Reserve, National Guard and retired – plus many more family members and professional civilians.

Our volunteers range in ages, from 12 to 103. (Special thanks to Marion Jordan for setting the example and never slowing down.)

We thank our volunteers for supporting so many activities crucial to our quality of life. I am especially proud of our cyber and cryptologic units providing tailored tutoring to the county schools on post to complement the recently upgraded cyber curriculum.

With help from our community partners in the Fort Meade Alliance to support the incredible cyber activities and tutors, our children have opportunities for cyber education unmatched in the world — right here at Fort George G. Meade.

As we thank our spectacular volunteers this week, I also thank our tenant units and partner organizations for their extraordinary support and generosity.

Together, we will continue to make Fort Meade a wonderful home to serve, learn, live and play.

We are witnessing history this week with the elevation of U.S. Cyber Command at our nation’s platform for intelligence, information and cyber operations.

Be proud of your contributions to support each other and our country.

Team Meade!

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