Feeling the pain: Why services are changing when closure is a year away

Brian Adkins is the Garrison Manager of U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt. He assumed that leadership role May 23, 2013 when Schweinfurt’s last ever garrison commander departed.

Brian Adkins is the Garrison Manager of U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt. He assumed that leadership role May 23, 2013 when Schweinfurt’s last ever garrison commander departed.

The closing of USAG Schweinfurt next year may seem like eons away, but the closure of a garrison as large as Schweinfurt is impossible to do last minute. In order to accomplish our mission of handing the keys over to the Germans by Oct 2014, things must draw down now. With draw down comes the following:

  • The departure of Local National and Government employees.
  • The PCSing of active duty military personnel and their Families (more valued employees!)

We place tremendous value in our employees, whether they are Local National employees, NAF, GS, contractors, Soldiers or volunteers. And that’s why we’re engaged in an unprecedented push to ensure they all get the resources they need to smoothly transition into other employment. Point is that a dwindling workforce translates into decreased services.

But wait. There’s a spinoff effect created by departing community members: It also means there’s a resulting decline of customers and clients. As community members leave, so too do consumers of garrison services. Demand for services is decreasing.

Let’s put this into perspective. Suppose an American town of 10,000 people sees a 50% decline in its population. Can the businesses in the town continue business as usual? No way. A grocer would have to buy less produce to avoid rot, a general store would have to procure less merchandise to avoid going under and restaurant owners might have to close shop altogether and move to another boom town. Based on this supply-demand business model, they would all lose revenue, making the cost of operating the business far outweigh the profit. The businesses would then close, leaving the community without a service.

A number of garrison services, such as the garrison PX, Ledward DFAC and the Thrift Shop, have either modified hours or closed in reflection of garrison population

A number of garrison services, such as the garrison PX, Ledward DFAC and the Thrift Shop, have either modified hours or closed in reflection of garrison population

Don’t worry, Schweinfurt. We’re not going to leave you high and dry. We’re going to provide you the essential services you need—from schools to health care to housing and sustenance—until every last person departs.

My point is that our current operational tempo is unsustainable. For one, we don’t have the workforce to support it. Secondly, if the garrison was to operate at 100% until the gates close, government property and equipment would be left stranded and vendors would have a surplus of inventory.

But this isn’t all doom and gloom. A challenge? Yes, but also an opportunity for us to rely even more on each other as a community. I can promise you that you can ease the pain if you commit to staying informed. Connect to our Closure 2014 page regularly for the latest updates. We will always aim to give you alternatives, whether it’s on post or in town. And since we’re all in this together, keep your battle buddies, your neighbors and your colleagues informed. Got a rumor? Ask us about it at our closure blog or spark up solution-oriented dialogue on our Facebook page.

The garrison is set to close by September 2014. You know you are PCSing in a year. The time to start planning for your move is now. As a community we’re all in a difficult situation. The reduction or closure of services, combined with the current furlough, has caused some pain and frustration. And just like you, I feel it every day. However, I am willing to shoulder the pain because we have a new mission now: close and move out. The reduction in services can be  annoying, but the city of Schweinfurt as well as our neighboring garrisons at Ansbach, Bamberg and Grafenwoehr can support the majority of our needs. Schweinfurt, we’re in this together. Stay engaged, stay informed, and we’ll take care of you. You have my word!

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