JBSA-FORT SAM HOUSTON –
Leadership from across San Antonio and surrounding areas joined Brig. Gen. Bob LaBrutta, commander, 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio, to sign a charter launching the JBSA Public-Public/Public-Private, or P4 Community Partnership Initiative, Aug. 5 at the Alamo University Center in Live Oak.
The P4 initiative was organized in direct response to fiscal constraints the 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA face over the next five to ten years.
Last year's defense authorization bill allowed installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with local governments.
As a result, strategizing and reaching out to the city began early this year to explore routes toward sustaining and preserving JBSA mission sets, while leveraging resources and reducing operating and service costs in collaboration with the San Antonio community.
"We've always had a great relationship and a wonderful partnership between the military and the San Antonio community, but this initiative puts action into the words, "Military City USA." In fact, I see it as a new beginning in our relationship because we'll be sharing and optimizing our capabilities not only for today but for the future," LaBrutta said just before signing the charter.
"It's exciting for me and I hope it is for everybody that will be signing on the dotted line today," the general added.
After the signing ceremony, updates were presented from various agencies involved in the processes of creating alliances with JBSA.
A new Texas Transition Information Program providing separating servicemembers and their families information on locally-based employment, housing, educational opportunities and healthcare launches Aug. 20 during JBSA-Lackland's Transition Assistance Program.
"It's helping veterans get in touch with the community," explained Steven Johns, secretary, San Antonio Coalition for Veterans and Families.
"Veterans retiring or getting out in the San Antonio area are connected with information they need to have in this area," Johns continued, adding that the military program separating servicemembers attend is nationally based, whereas this new program will focus locally.
Lt. Col. Scott Foley, commander, Security Forces Squadron, said that he and his group are looking at finding methods to share resources across the entire JBSA installation and surrounding areas. Although both security forces and the fire departments already share facilities, training and emergency response districts, they are working at enlarging areas of operations.
"It's an expansion of the mutual aid agreements we've been doing for a long time," explained JBSA Fire Chief Mark Ledford. "There are a lot of smart people doing smart things together."
"I think about Oklahoma City and I think about 9/11 every day. The training that we are doing across the front on the emergency side of the house is critically important for us and also for San Antonio at large.
"Ten days into my command we had an active shooter on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. The San Antonio police department was right there with us," LaBrutta said illustrating the collaboration between the military and civilian emergency response teams already in place.
Other partnership ideas include reestablishing bus routes within JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, using renewable energy sources and storm water reuse among other projects.
"We're looking to leverage the capabilities within Joint Base San Antonio, the city and communities of San Antonio in formulating economies of scale and streamlining processes, so that the military mission can be sustained and make it more vital to our nation," LaBrutta said.
"By the same token, we want to continue to support the economic vitality of the San Antonio region as well."