Buckley, community leaders team up to collaborate ideas
By Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 03, 2013
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Key installation and community members came together to collaborate ideas as part of the Air Force Community Partnership Initiative initial planning meeting May 30.
Buckley is one of 15 bases in the first group of Air Force installations to press forward with the initiative. The focus is aimed at leveraging military installations and local community capabilities and resources to reduce operating and service costs in support of the Air Force mission.
"We've got a really interesting opportunity and really want to capture (it) at the front end," said Col. Robert Uemura, 460th Mission Support Group commander. "We've been really lucky that Buckley was identified as one of the test programs.
"In the past we haven't been able to integrate both federal government money and resources with that of our local communities," he said. "As part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act some of those barriers have been broken down."
During a time filled with many financial constraints, Uemura emphasized the importance of working as one unit to come up with the best solutions.
"This is not an overnight process this is one of those that is going to take some time," he added. "We're looking for a win-win. As long as it's not illegal, unmoral or unethical, no idea should be off the table."
The combination of installation and community resources should come without passing any risk or cost from entity to entity, said Lynne Neuman, Air Force Space Command Private-Private; Private-Public Partnering command program manager and member of AFSPC's Encroachment Management Team.
Neuman said the idea is for mutually beneficial partnerships. There may be some easy ones that would have the potential to start up within a couple weeks or months, but there may be others that require legislation changes and could take a bit longer, as in a couple of years.
The brainstorming event spurred many ideas to inlcude a culinary school on the installation that could serve a twofold purpose: a school and a dining facility for service members and their families. Participants also pitched a variety of ideas to include: firing ranges, runways for law enforcement driver training, jointly credentialing medics and about another 15 ideas. Again, these are all ideas that need to be looked into further to see if they're possible in the future.
Rep. Su Ryden, Colorado House of Representatives, was in attendance and thought the initiative has potential to be very successful.
"I think it has huge potential, there's so much brain power in this room and each one knows their circle of influence," Ryden said. "I think it's a really exciting prospect and the idea that they're going to have some freedom to be able to make agreements that they could never make before (is great)."
Although a great initiative, Ryden expressed her concern for small businesses.
"I do want to be sure our small businesses are also allowed to participate and I can foresee where the city is using an outside service for something and they can also be serving Buckley and get more bang for the buck for both groups with that one outside firm," she said. "I don't think it would be just internal necessarily, but using the entire community resources."