Before I start on another rant about working for the federal government, I want to point out that I have added a button at the bottom of the page that should allow you to subscribe to my email list. I am in the process of building an email list to allow me to send more efficient notifications about new posts. When I shifted from a self-hosted WordPress site to SquareSpace I failed to recognize that the email feature of my blog disappeared. The joy of SquareSpace more than justifies the frustrations of WordPress so I’m powering through. If you can call a year later powering through. If you’re interested, sign up. I can guarantee that it won’t be used excessively, especially since I don’t know how to use it yet.
Meanwhile, recently one of my biggest customers merged organizations. The Installation Management Command (IMCOM) has been absorbed by the Army Material Command. As with all mergers and reorganizations, this is an attempt to increase efficiency.
It may have the effect of eliminating a Lieutenant General position and flag officers never operate in a vacuum. They have a couple Major Generals, a few Brigadier Generals, a whole flock of Colonels and below plus their civilian equivalents, and that’s just the upper echelons. At the lower levels most absorptions like this come with cuts. Cuts in staff, cuts in funding, and cuts in logistical support. Almost never cuts in requirements, missions, or duties.
Stepping away from the merger for a second, let me say something about where I work. For those that don’t know about my organization, the Corps of Engineers, we are a mostly civilian organization that is not funded in the federal budget. We are project funded—always. The only things in the bloated budget Congress occasionally passes that has the Corps name on it is the Civil Works projects. There is no line item anywhere for the staffing or operations of the Corps. In order to pay our operating expenses we take a portion of the contract costs. I call it skimming some off the top. Not exactly accurate because we are very up front about it. We are a fee for service organization. Most say that we are very proud of our services (also read expensive), but being the largest engineering company in the world brings a lot to the table.
Back to the merger, there has been talk at high levels about engaging more with the Corps than previously. From the Corps perspective this means more work for us. This will have several benefits for IMCOM though. The biggest benefit to them will be that a smaller staff is needed to oversee the projects because all they’ll need to do is oversee the Corps overseeing the projects. It will also seem that they are spending more on projects because while the personnel budget goes down the project budgets go up. But sending more projects to the Corps means their project budget had to go up since it will cost more to do the same dollar figure worth of projects.
Somebody somewhere is getting a pat on the back and an award for saving the Army money for combining these two commands into one allowing IMCOM to streamline, cut staff costs, and increase funding spent on projects. And that someone is probably getting a monetary award for it, too.
And no representation is made that the views and opinions I share on this page are the views or opinions of the Army, the Corps of Engineers, or any other federal entity. Nothing said here is said in the official capacity of my day job and all of the work on this website is done on my own equipment, on my own time, and completely removed from any government resources.