JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Feedback Fridays is a weekly forum that aims to connect the 502d Air Base Wing with members of the Joint Base San Antonio community. Questions are collected during commander’s calls, town hall meetings and throughout the week.
If you have a question or concern, please send an email to RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.
Installation & Facilities
Q. Why is it taking so long for the gates at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston to get updated? The old temporary security forces have been at Schofield, Beach, and Winans gates for more than 10 years. Each time someone goes through the gate, it looks like you are arriving at a deployed location, not at a CONUS location. Plus, the working conditions are poor at best. Every new base commander that comes in, always says they will be fixing the issue, but it has yet to be fixed. When will JBSA address the poor working conditions of the gates?
A: Great question. Over the past few years, significant design work, financial planning, and procurement have been going on to prepare for major upgrades at gates across JBSA, some of which are scheduled to begin this week.
In addition, the Defense Department is working hard to balance current operational requirements, respond to emergent changes, and build the force America needs. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough funding to cover everything at once. This is especially true here at JBSA, so work has to be prioritized. Which means, for gates, we have to focus first on improvements that have the highest immediate impact on security and those that provide basic services to our Security Forces.
To that end, this month, JBSA will begin a lengthy series of construction projects to install and repair vehicle barriers, tiger teeth, speed humps, signage, and ballistic protection, as well as add power, air and running water to numerous gates.
While the upcoming construction affects all of JBSA’s major operating locations, for JBSA-Fort Sam Houston specifically, new ballistic gate houses, which include power, air and water, are being installed at Winans, Schofield, and BAMC Beach and South New Braunfels gates. In addition, bollards, speed humps and “tiger teeth” are being installed or repaired at the Jadwin and BAMC Beach gates.
These projects by no means represent everything we need or want to do to improve our JBSA gates. They are just the first phase. Our experts are hard at work planning the next phases of improvements.
Q. Is it possible to consider having three lanes open on the Valley Hi gate at JBSA-Lackland during lunch time? Traffic is always backed up on Valley Hi Drive during peak times at lunch.
A. While we are about to begin major construction at the Valley Hi Gate this month, we are working closely with our Civil Engineers to design a permanent solution to assist with traffic flow while enhancing force protection.
However, this will not be a quick fix; rather a deliberate process which will take some time to design, fund, and construct. In the short term, we worked with the Civil Engineers and the 502nd Air Base Wing Safety Office to consider use of a temporary additional lane, similar to the procedure used during the morning rush.
However, with higher outbound traffic flow during the day, the safety risk proved too great. We aren’t giving up though … we will continue to explore alternative ways to expedite traffic through Valley Hi while maintaining force protection.
Q. The Army Network Enterprise Center, or NEC, and the 502nd Communications Squadron have radically different implementation policies concerning their networks in relation to interpretation of Department of Defense, Agency, and local policies. I’m at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and our Air Force IT support person is about to retire. It may be months before we can get support, because the NEC does not/will not recognize our Air Force IT support personnel and allow them to work on the NEC system. This does not address the larger issue of file sharing across the enterprise. Is there any hope that this installation will truly become a joint base and break the barriers of obstruction that prevent the common required core needs for communication in this digital age?
A. This is a great question, but unfortunately, I don’t have a great answer. In 2010, when we became a joint base, the Army and Air Force agreed that the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston computer network would be maintained by the Army NEC while JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph would be managed by the Air Force’s 502nd Communications Squadron.
We recently highlighted the operational impacts associated with maintaining two networks to officials conducting a service secretary-directed joint base survey. Unfortunately, we don’t anticipate the DOD will be transitioning to one network across JBSA in the near future.
In the meantime, to pass data in this type of environment, there are multiple tools that have been developed to help. First, milSuite allows users to have secure collaboration across multiple online applications. Additionally, the 502nd CS has provided SharePoint access. This is a great tool that allows you to pass information, secure sections to specific groups, etc. This tool is also an excellent way of putting information out there for customers to go and retrieve without having to make a phone call.
Our teams continuously work hard to determine the best way or create tools to pass information across the networks. If you have a specific need or an idea of a tool that would help, please contact the JBSA Requirements Section at 37CS.SCXREQSEC@us.af.mil to submit a requirement.
Q. When will appreciable improvements be made to the 36 holes of golf and the associated infrastructure at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston? From coats of paint on building exteriors to removing unwanted plant growth on tee boxes, the list is too long to mention. Membership has dropped considerably since the barriers were installed. I’m pretty sure that drop is directly the result in the “worn out and uncared for” appearance that exists on this otherwise gem afforded us.
A. Thank you for expressing your concerns about the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston golf operation. While there is still work to be done, our current course superintendent and his maintenance team have made considerable progress towards improving both courses over the past 24 months. They’ve restored greens, rejuvenated fairways, and re-built tee boxes, all in an effort to increase course quality and playability.
These efforts are ongoing and will continue as time, funding, and weather allow. As a result of their efforts, the number of rounds played over the past 12 months and the positive feedback received from our golfers have increased.
Our FSS team is currently working a variety of improvements to the clubhouse, dining area, snack bar, and exterior grounds which include working with CE to develop more attractive force protection options to replace the current concrete barriers outside the clubhouse, painting the interior/exterior of the club house and replacing exterior railings and fixtures, installing new flooring in the dining room, hallways, and locker rooms, executing an Air Force-funded snack bar renovation project to improve appearance, functionality, and customer flow for our dining patrons. If you have additional recommendations, please don’t hesitate to discuss them with the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Golf Director and his team.
Q. How do we obtain a standing desk at our work center? Is it only for those with medical disabilities? We’ve seen some units purchase it for all their employees for morale.
A. Thank you for your question. Our supervisors and unit leadership work hard to assure everyone has the tools they need to be successful. Standing desks and other equipment (chairs, keyboards, etc.) to assist with completing tasks and workload come from unit funding.
As such, unit leadership balances these needs with other requirements that come from their respective budgets. While a documented medical need may assist in prioritizing the purchase of a standing desk, it’s not required. Some units put in an unfunded requirement for a large quantity of standing desks (or other equipment).
The bottom line is that unit leadership can decide to fund standing desks for their employees. I encourage you to talk with your supervisory chain to see if your unit can purchase a standing desk for you and your teammates.
Q. Has there been any thought to adding more marquee signs around JBSA-Randolph and also moving the current sign further from the main gate so you can actually read it?
A. Great question! From online posts, to print media, to physical signs, we use a robust strategy to arm our teammates and mission partners with the latest information.
Marquees are an integral part of that strategy. We currently do not have any plans to add new marquees around Randolph, but we can certainly look into it. When it comes to placement, we work closely with JBSA Traffic Engineers and JBSA-Randolph Security Forces to select a location that promotes readability to the vehicle occupants, while far enough from intersections or points of traffic congestion to limit risk to drivers.