Installation management on track in S. Korea
May 16, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The Army’s newest command designed to manage installations and quality-of-life programs is evolving and progressing in South Korea.
“I would tell you that IMA has been the result of a lot of intense focus from our Army leadership about how best to handle and administrate to the installations so that there is some parity amongst the installations in terms of quality of life,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Debra L. Strickland of the Installation Management Agency in Crystal City, Va.
IMA is the parent of the Korea Regional Office, or KORO, one of seven regional offices that now will manage the maintenance of installations and soldier programs. The idea is to relieve garrison commanders of mundane tasks and allow them to focus on war fighting.
What the Army’s idea also does is ensure money earmarked for installations’ infrastructure goes to that purpose, Strickland said. Previously, garrison commanders often switched money designated for maintenance to operations because they were short- funded.
Commanders had “to make some decisions about budgets that affected the way each installation evolved over time. We’re supposed to help even that out now,” Strickland said.
The funding changes often were at the detriment of the installations, she said.
Will more money for installations come to South Korea than in years past?
“It’s not so much that more money comes here, but more of the budgeted money makes it to the installations for the intended purpose,” Strickland said. “Even if you don’t get a raise in the budget, if you are getting more of your own allocation then you’ll be able to do much more.”
Command Sgt. Maj. John Sanders of KORO offered an example: “It’s got to be better than what we were doing,” he said.
“If I had $5, and previously people could peel off 50 cents every time I turned around, and then the next year I got $5 and nobody could touch it, then theoretically I have more money.”
This year, Brig. Gen. John A. Macdonald, KORO commander, was able to take $4 million and designate it solely for purchasing office furniture for offices around the peninsula, Sanders said. It was the first time he noticed money was put toward work places, Sanders said.
The goal of IMA is to even out differences between quality-of- life programs and work environments of installations across the Army, Strickland said. For example, a Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program at one base should be on the same level as one on other bases.