Alabama Guard stewards funds with partnerships

Release #2015062601

Related Media

Staff Sgt. Justin Mack, 1st Battalion 117th Field Artillery (right) stands with Alabama state trooper Sgt. Thad Chandler in front of the Alabama National Guard Armory in Troy. Photo: Spc. William Frye

MONTGOMERY, AL (06/26/2015)(readMedia)-- While military planners wrestle with a potential $500 billion cut to the defense budget, Eric Gerritson, master planner, future operations, Alabama National Guard, is cutting through red-tape and policy hurdles.

Gerritson and his team are known for looking ahead and planning for the future. Yet, today is the future; and, in this world of fiscal constraints, they are working to increase the maximum effective range of each dollar.

When the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency needed space throughout Alabama, Gerritson looked beyond his fence and proposed a solution – a partnership.

"There is so much goodness in this story," said Gerritson.

"They had a need for space in the west central end of Division B since their headquarters was in Dothan. We provide availability with six administrative offices, access to a gym, lockers, showers, drill hall, conference room, classroom(s) and kitchen," Gerritson wrote in an email.

Division B includes the work of both Dothan and Troy offices. Barber, Pike, Chrenshaw and Butler counties were worked from Dothan before the partnership in Troy.

The result for the ALEA partnership in Troy is an estimated ten year savings of $76,000. The other partnership, in Decatur, Alabama, is an estimated return on investment over 35-years of $24,539 per year, or $858,860.

"This is a cost saving measure; we (ALEA) didn't have to build a building. It is outstanding," said Trooper Kevin Cook, with ALEA.

For the National Guard, co-locating with partners like ALEA will assist in crisis response. Although policies prohibit the organizations from sharing all information, when a crisis hits, the coordination will be aided by close proximity.

"Being with the National Guard will help during natural disasters. It helps with communications, logistics and planning. When faced with disaster response, we can walk next door and begin the logistical planning; this enhances the communications," said Cook.

Gerritson's program is a component of a Pentagon initiative called the Armory Partnership Program. In addition to senior leadership totaling up the program, Cook, who is also an Alabama Air National Guardsman, hopes this type of exciting partnership continues.

"I see the benefits for all the citizens of Alabama," said Cook.

Alabamians are most familiar with the disaster response of the National Guard, the business of the Guard is lesser known.

"The potential of the National Guard remains untapped," said Brig. Gen. Danny Speigner, assistant adjutant general, Alabama National Guard.

The economic impact is impressive. The Alabama National Guard, in fiscal year 2014, provided a dramatic impact in excess of $1 billion in economic stimulus.

Further, 87 percent of the state employees' salaries at the National Guard Headquarters are federally reimbursed to the state.

"We are one of the top five businesses in Alabama," said Speigner.

Solution driven, good investment – that makes good business sense.