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NEWS | Dec. 10, 2015

Strengthening Community Ties through Joint Initiatives

By Tech Sgt. Renae Pittman JB Charleston Public Affairs

In a time where budget constraints are affecting all aspects of life and government, finding ways to best use scarce resources is crucial for Joint Base Charleston and members of the local community. In December 2014, the Air Force Partnership Program, or P4 for short, was established to build relationships and start brainstorming joint community initiatives to benefit both the base and local communities.

The P4 leadership committee, consisting of 10 joint base and community leaders, met on Dec 4, 2015 to sign a charter signifying the alliance between the joint base and the local community. The signing marks the completion of the initial one-year period overseen by Air Force members from the Pentagon.

"The intent of this meeting was to incorporate partnerships as a normal way of doing business and to continue to build a pipeline of new partnership concepts," said Col. Lori Walden, a partnership broker from the Pentagon.

Lt. Col Ralph "E.T." Taylor, 628th Mission Support Group deputy commander and the base's P4 project officer, said, "Having this program here at our base has really helped strengthen our partnerships with the local Charleston communities, as well as develop some joint initiatives which will benefit all."

Initially, nine initiatives were developed. Examples of the initiatives include bringing the Berkley County Library's book mobile onto the Weapons Station and trying to create a consolidated 911 call center with the local police stations.

During the 4 Dec meeting, the first initiative was signed and approved--a plan to combine motorcycle riding course capabilities. Trident Technical College in North Charleston, S.C., will provide maintenance for the base's motorcycle fleet and, in return, they will be able to offer classes on the joint base, as well as allow military to take the off-base course at a reduced rate.  "We have the largest safety program out of all the technical schools in S.C., and we are thrilled to be able to share resources," said Steve Price, the program manager for continuing education at Trident Technical College, "Not only does it help expose civilians to the Joint Base but it also provides the Joint Base safety personnel access to some of the best trained staff in the state." In addition to sharing ideas and resources, the base will be able to greatly reduce the amount of back-logged military members waiting for class.

"You always hear about how great our community is and it has been great to see it first-hand. It has been amazing to witness joint base and community leaders, and the work groups, develop these joint initiatives over the past year and now, even more amazing to see them being implemented." said Taylor.

Col. Robert Lyman, Joint Base Charleston commander and chair of the leadership committee said, "Joint Base Charleston and our local communities have some outstanding service and support programs. Sharing those, and creating synergy between us, makes good fiscal sense and has the potential to open new opportunities for each of us."

The next P4 meeting, a quarterly update to obtain statuses on all pending initiatives, will be held in late February, 2016.  According to Taylor, "The plan is to have more initiatives finalized and agreements signed to continue down the partnership road. We will also explore and brainstorm any potential new initiatives."