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LOGCOM CG talks vision, reset, more at town hall

By Art Powell | | March 4, 2010

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The commanding general of Marine Corps Logistics Command, held his first town hall meetings in Thomason Gymnasium at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Feb. 18.

Brig. Gen. James A. Kessler said the purpose of the town halls was to allow Kessler to share his vision of LOGCOM by holding what he called ‘a conversation,’ and to also answer questions from of military and civilian personnel who attended.

Kessler said, “I think what this command has done in the past few years is nothing short of remarkable. I remember when I was a young supply officer and thought of Albany, I always knew I could call here and get a good answer. But Albany, 30 years ago, was pretty much focused inside the wire. And where you all have taken the command to is a new and exciting place, and it’s outside the wire, more and more,” he told those at the meeting.

Continuing to focus on and serve the warfighter is what Kessler sees LOGCOM doing in the future.

“I want us to be the very best in the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense,” he said. “I also want soldiers, sailors and airmen to know what we do well in the types of work we do. That focus on the warfighter is critical to our success.”

Kessler explained that his vision, which he described as a ‘stretch goal, something we aspire to,’ of LOGCOM is ‘an organization in constant pursuit of excellence in everything we do,’ and ‘one that is not only open to change, but one that embraces change.’

Citing how the once dominant retailer Sears and Roebuck gave way to new retail operations such as Wal-Mart and Target, he added that any organization that doesn’t understand the value of change is doomed.

“I want to see LOGCOM as seeking and embracing change and looking for those ways that we can be better at what we do. Constantly looking for a better way, never satisfied with good enough,” Kessler said.

The commanding general addressed the status of the reset of Marine Corps equipment as the ground warfare in Overseas Contingency Operations shifts from Iraq to Afghanistan.

“Reset is a constantly moving target. We had a great reset plan that the commandant signed in June 2009, and then we put out a reset plan in October based on that,” he said. “But all that changed with operations in Afghanistan.

“What we thought would get done in two years has stretched out because we’re fighting a new war in Afghanistan. Some of the equipment that we thought was coming back is going to Afghanistan,” he said.

Kessler’s comments turned to doctrine, which he described as ‘important.’

“Sometimes we see doctrine as etched in stone, and can’t be changed. I don’t subscribe to that, I think we need to be sure that doctrine reflects the future and how we intend to operate,” said the Seattle-area native. “Maybe there are some areas with Marine Corps doctrine that we need to address. When we identify new areas we’re working in, we need to include that in doctrine.”

Following the meeting, a sample of comments from attendees demonstrated they felt the event was positive and meaningful to them.

“I think he was telling us what his philosophy was and the big picture as he sees it,” said Terry Brown, supervisor, light armored vehicles, Trades Department, Maintenance Center Albany. “He said we were moving forward and in the right direction with a lot more to come and we need to be faithful and confident that it will come.”

Another employee in attendance was impressed with Kessler’s ability to communicate with the audience.

“He seemed like a real down-to-earth guy, like he really cares about the people who work here. I was really impressed,” said Nancy Wilson, manager, Principle End Items, Trades Department, MCA. “I liked to hear him talk about reset and the items coming in here.”

Wilson added that she would like the town halls to be available to the next level of workers other than supervisors and managers.

Kessler’s comments on accountability stayed on the mind of one attendee who offered an opinion on the value of the town hall.

“He said we are accountable for what we do as employees and that we should bloom where we are planted. I really liked that statement,” said Beth LeVert, program and management analyst, C4, LOGCOM. “I think that as federal employees, we need to do our very best.”

One comment following the town hall reflected on the motivational value of the effort.

“I really think a lot of the general and he’s trying to step forward and motivate us and push us forward to support the warfighter,” said Robin Downs, information assurance officer, C4, LOGCOM.

Kessler answered several questions which had been submitted prior to the 90-minute meeting.

">He stated that those he didn’t have time to answer at the town hall would be posted with responses on the LOGCOM Intranet.

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