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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Commanding officer gives trail-blazing viewpoint

By Col. Mark A. Costa | | May 11, 2000

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My challenge in preparing this article was first, to decide what I would mean by the base and, second, how I would describe its current state.
I could have chosen to describe the Base as the collection of physical assets and real property of MCLB Barstow. Or I could refer to those Marines and Civilian Marines assigned to the portion of the T/O that are considered Base Operations.
Instead I will describe the Base in more collective terms, the MCLB Barstow Community, or Family, which encompasses the Marines, Sailors, Civilian Marines and family members who live and work aboard the Base, regardless of activity. 
Our community is part of a larger one, that of MarCorLogBases and Materiel Command. To describe the state of the base, someone suggested that I review the accomplishments of 1999 and the challenges of 2000. But I want to give a more descriptive picture of where our community currently stands in the history on our journey.
The MCLB Barstow community, as well as LogBases and MatCom, stand at a crossroads. Previously, we traveled a road cut by others, but we improved, widened and, in some cases, finished that road so those who followed us found their journey easier. For nearly 60 years members of our family faithfully served Marines, Sailors and other service personnel in peace and at war.
We ensured that the right stuff made it to the right place at the right time; that quality supplies and reliable equipment was in the hands of those who needed to train hard, so as not to bleed in war.
And when Marines and others went in harms way, we made the extra effort to ensure those at the front were as well equipped and supplied as they could be.We became masters of the systems that supplied the forces and ran the bases.
We were creative and inventive in finding better ways of doing things, but we were usually measured against a standard of how responsive and efficient we were in doing things in ways that had already been proven.
Our community served the Corps and nation well. We were recognized and rewarded by unit citations, awards for efficiency, environmental leadership, conservation of resources and leadership in taking care of our people. We were at the forefront of accomplishing the mission, but we were still basically following a course set by others and making that trail into a better road. 
Things are different now. We stand at a crossroads. In fact, we stand at a point where the road we have traveled continues and we are at the decision point to blaze a new trail and create the crossroads. 
We can continue to make improvements on established ways or processes, or we can become truly innovative and find new ways or processes. 
We face the choice of continuing to follow a path, or to become the pioneers of a new trail. Instead of facing the challenges of making things better, we will have to endure hardships and face the dangers of potential failure.
Leaders of a community that is following the path of others are responsible for ensuring first, that the path is followed and then for determining if the trail can be improved. Everyones efforts are focused on the path, knowing it leads to the final destination. Progress is easy to measure, and although hardship may arise, it can be easily weighed against the rewards.
Everyone in the pioneer community  from the leader down  gets their hands dirty. The trail is not as smooth, the wagon wheels will break, the streams are deep and fording the streams is unknown and dangerous. Survival is the initial motivation.
WE ARE A PIONEER COMMUNITY WITHIN THE CORPS. The Barstow Community, LogBases and MatCom are at the forefront of fundamentally forging the way the Marine Corps will support the Corps in the future. We are aggressively pursuing goals where no course has been set. There are guideposts and landmarks that give us a general direction, but no one in the Marine Corps  and very few, if any, in DoD  has gone down this trail before.
The Materiel Command continues to refine the Marine Corps unique concept of materiel life cycle management through the integration of the acquisition responsibilities of Systems Command and the supply chain management and maintenance responsibilities of LogBases.
The Maintenance Centers are pursuing ISO 9000 certification to compete at the level of industry leaders. They are incorporating a series of better business practices while maintaining a demanding production schedule that I believe no other major production company would attempt.
At the same time, the Fleet Support Centers are being tasked with implementing a new concept in supporting materiel life cycle management. Shattering the molds and rice bowls of previous supply management practices, true supply chain management under one process owner is being pursued.
These fundamental changes in the logistics organizations in MatCom and LogBases are being pursued, as the supporting operations of the bases at Albany and Barstow are being reengineered and competed. In no other organization in the Marine Corps, or I dare say DoD, is so much risk being taken in pioneering so much change simultaneously. 
The end result of any trail blazing is a new frontier, a new land where the future is made from the individual and collective efforts of the pioneers. We are now in the midst of this pioneer mission, and I know that each and every one of us has some doubt about its chances for success and definitely questions the rewards these efforts will reap.
We know that not all will survive the journey, but that does not mean we will not take care of them. During this journey and when we reach the new frontier, we will all be called upon to do more and different things than we did before. We will be tested and tempered for settling the new frontier.
Some of us may feel threatened that the future organizations may not have a place for everyone; that most efficient organizations and reengineered organizations are flat; that mid level management is the first to go; that if we dont have modern skills, there will be no place for us; that we have a bulls eye on us because we are only good at the current way of doing things. But until we pass through this pioneer experience and survive, we wont know the end result. We must remember the Marine saying of gung ho or pull together, because we must first pull together and persevere through the journey. Once we arrive at the new frontier, having been tested, we will organize ourselves from the individual and collective experience. I solicit your continued efforts in leadership and action with a gung ho spirit and willingness to get your hands dirty.
What is the state of the Base? To that I answer, the MCLB Barstow Community stands with LogBases and MatCom at the crossroads of Installation Reform and the Integrated Logistics Concept for the Marine Corps.
We have chosen to be pioneers in blazing a trail to a new frontier where we envision the marriage of the success of our predecessors to our plan for logistics in the 21st century.
Our vision of being a center of logistics excellence, achieving the best value by providing exceptional service and products through innovation and a superior workforce while ensuring a high standard quality of life, can and will be achieved by a pioneer spirit.
I ask that we join together at this crossroads and be motivated by the pioneer spirit  to strike out together and blaze a new and exciting trail  one never before seen, but never to be forgotten.
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