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Update from the boss

I Corps' leader addresses reporters on issues affecting the Joint Base

Lt. Gen. Lanza talks current state of I Corps and its role in the Pacific during Wednesday’s AUSA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Photo credit: U.S. Army

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That's the one word Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza used when asked to describe the just ended Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.

"Team," said the commander of I Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The AUSA 2006 Annual Meeting and Exposition took place from the 3rd through the 5th this week at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

"This brings together the whole Army enterprise as one team, the 970,000 soldiers and its civilian employees," he continued, during a roundtable telephone interview with several new agencies, Wednesday morning.

The AUSA conference focuses on bringing industry and the Army together, to share in open forums the possibilities and innovations as the Army moves forward.

Closer to home, the impact of the confab on JBLM is the ability for community leaders to understand the Army's overall strategic planning, to interface with both industry and defense officials, and to strengthen understanding and relations between all concerned.

On that note, Lanza addressed several issues of interest to the JBLM community.

When asked about the recent testing of the HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) at JBLM, Lanza began by thanking the public and the leaders of the Nisqually Tribe for their understanding and patience.

That said, he went on to say that the tests were conducted in order to address the issue of cost, namely, the cost of conducting training at JBLM in comparison of the costs training at the Yakima Training Center (YTC).

"We recognize and value saving taxpayer money," Lanza continued, "and we recognize the public's needs," he emphasized, in addressing concerns about the noise the training on the HIMARS will bring.

A report on the findings of the testing conducted at JBLM will be forthcoming.

When queried about YTC and other training activities, Lanza said that the center is "alive and well and will not go away."

But he also carefully explained that the Army's focus on training and readiness has shifted from one based on counter-insurgent operations to one premised on a combined arms approach.

The focus on how soldiers train has shifted.

"What we do at the squad and platoon levels can be accomplished here; we are bringing in different capabilities," continued Lanza.

"As we bridge forward, we can accomplish some of the lower echelon training here while simultaneously training larger elements at YTC to build readiness."

Underlying this is the fact that training at JBLM is cost-effective.

As to his thoughts on the future of JBLM and the surrounding communities, Lanza sounded optimistic.

"I feel good where we are as a community and as a base," he answered.

"Predicated on sequestration, I feel good about the future."

He added that JBLM and the surrounding military community comprise a potent power project platform with Army, Navy and Air Force assets ready to access the Pacific region.

"Discussions here have focused on modernization of the force, with emphasis on personnel, equipment and resources," he added.

Asked about the integration of women soldiers integrating into infantry units, Lanza replied that while JBLM has yet to face this need to change, "the command team is ready to go when it happens."

He also pointed out that there is no shortage of events and meetings and training at JBLM and that he is proud of what I Corps is accomplishing both on the base and throughout the Pacific region.

He also indicated that he would be in command for another few months.

"It is important for us to stay connected to those we serve," he concluded.

Teamwork accomplishes just that.

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