2014-02-14 / Spectrum

Fort Gordon must shine in its new spotlight

The eyes of the Army are upon us.

Let’s face it – unprecedented growth has been planned for Fort Gordon, the Secretary of the Army made his first visit to the installation on Monday, more high-level visits are expected, and the phone lines between here and the nation’s capital have been buzzing. And it’s only just beginning.

Nothing is certain, of course. There are several budget cycles that have to be navigated before fiscal year 2019, when all of our new units are expected to be in place. And our military is always just one phone call away from a change in plans, due to the need to respond to a new crisis elsewhere in our world. Priorities change quickly when service members are headed into harm’s way.

But the Army’s plan is clearly to transform Fort Gordon into a hub for training and employing high-tech warfighters who will ensure our military advantage over any potential adversary for years to come.

But beyond the arrival of new personnel, beyond the construction of new facilities, beyond the expansion of local infrastructure, beyond the critically important capabilities that will these units will bring to Fort Gordon, what does it mean?

It means the eyes of the Army are upon us.

For years, Fort Gordon has enjoyed the reputation of being “that relatively quiet little Georgia installation where Soldiers go learn about radios and computers.” The quality of life offered by its location and the unwavering support of the local community, combined with mild weather and a low cost of living, have long led Soldiers to categorize a relatively pleasant duty assignments here as one of the “Army’s best-kept secrets.”

Certainly Fort Gordon will remain a pleasant assignment. But “a wellkept secret?” Those days may be over.

The spotlight on our installation will shine a little more brightly in the coming years. It’s a spotlight that can bring enormous benefits. But it also brings responsibilities.

As Fort Gordon prepares to receive new units and their families, senior leaders from across the services will take a growing interest in our installation. We must ensure they like what they learn about us.

Also, families across the services are googling “Fort Gordon” to learn about our facilities, our programs, and our surrounding communities. The early arriving families for our new units are already signing in, settling in and forming opinions. They’ll share those opinions. The first impression we give these arriving personnel must be a good one.

We don’t need to do anything special. We should just continue to do what we do every day – provide world-class training, a terrific quality of life, and a highly regarded community of professionals into which our new arrivals will be happy to immerse themselves and their families. That’s the first impression, and the lasting impression, that we want to create.

Because the eyes of the Army are upon us.

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