JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Joint basing is a lot like family. A family, like the military, finds their strength through the loyalty they have for each other. They can also experience growing pains and be tested to overcome obstacles.
Nobody knows this more than Col. Charles Perham, Office of Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Washington D.C. He is both a family man and works as deputy director of basing, which oversees 12 joint bases throughout the Department of Defense, including Joint Base Charleston.
Perham visited JB Charleston Aug. 8 through 10, where he met with various Airmen and Sailors from the Air Base and Weapons Station, and the highlight of his visit was a presentation to Team Charleston leadership titled 'Joint Basing 101'.
Perham first met with Team Charleston leadership Aug. 9, as he visited JB Charleston - Weapons Station commands: He toured Wharf Alpha, the Nuclear Power Training Unit, Naval Munitions Command and Army Strategic Logistics Activity Charleston.
"Joint basing aims at innovation," said Perham. "It uses indirect and direct practices to hit targets, such as financial and mission efficiency."
According to Perham, indirect practices cannot be measured or determined through charts and graphs. However, they are just as important. Indirect practices are found in the day-to-day activities of JB Charleston Airmen and Sailors. One example of this practice could be a Sailor and Airman using their different military backgrounds to overcome one challenge as a team.
The direct practices are through manpower and measured performance. JB Charleston supports 53 Department of Defense and federal agencies, along with nearly 80,000 Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians, dependents and retirees.
"Although JB Charleston supports every branch of the military, their individual cultures are important to preserve," said Perham. "Communication among the respective services is paramount, but doesn't have to compromise the service's heritage."
According to Perham, the goal of joint basing is efficiency.
"Change is difficult," said Perham, in regards to joint basing. "Oftentimes, there can be growing pains, such as various services having different sets of requirements for things like inspections to policy writing; it's been challenging. However, being nearly two years into joint basing here, look at the ground that has been harvested."
Perham's expectation for JB Charleston in the future is to become a more bonded 'joint base family'.
Although more American bases around the world could become joint installations in the future, there are currently no plans in action.
"Joint basing is here to stay," said Perham. "JB Charleston is an excellent example of joint basing, and it's the responsibility of everyone here to educate others, outside of Charleston, on how joint basing works. The Common Output Level Standards performance numbers, required of each joint base, show us, at the Pentagon, how well JB Charleston is working. It also indicates how well JB Charleston will flourish in the future."
COLS performance assessments are measured quarterly and act as a "base report card" showing how well the base operates as a whole. JB Charleston continues to score well in every category.
"The number of tenant units at JB Charleston make joint basing here challenging, but also a unique experience," said Perham. "The men and women here are doing an amazing job at making joint basing work. They should hold their head high in knowing that they're performing ahead of their peers, and their successes are something to be proud of."