Senior installation command leaders from the military services said Monday that they are approaching tight budgets by focusing on the needs of their warfighters.

“Whether it’s infrastructure or housing or [morale, welfare and recreation], the process has to be linked to the endgame. We have to stay focused,” Lt. Gen. Douglas Gabram, commanding general of Army Installation Management Command, said in the opening session of ADC’s Installation Innovation Forum, moderated by ADC Board Member Sal Nodjomian.

Gabram and his colleagues said a key to that is continuing to partner with communities and the private sector.

“If you can do it better than I can, I want you to do it,” said Maj. Gen. Wilcox, commander of Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center.

Gabram said it’s important to evaluate what services and programs younger soldiers want on base.

“It’s not the same as my generation in terms of our outlook at what’s on post versus off,” Gabram said. “We need to understand what that is and stay relevant with our services.”

That approach is part of the base of the future, said Vice Adm. Yancy Lindsey, the head of Navy Installations Command.

“If the community can provide a service outside the fence line, why do I have to provide it?” Lindsey asked. “You have can have stuff outside the fence that doesn’t need to be guarded 24/7,” including housing and community programs. He pointed to the Navy’s innovative partnerships at Naval Air Station Oceana.

Brig. Gen. Jason Woodworth, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations-West, said another thing the warfighter needs is a focus on mental health and improving culture across branches.

His colleagues seemed to agree.

“Another concern of mine is the divisiveness of issues our country is facing right now,” Lindsey said. “Personally, that’s what keeps me awake at night.”

ADC photo by Chris Duyos