The garrison commander and subject matter experts got together to share information with the spouses of Fort Bragg’s senior leaders during the installation’s inaugural Community Information Exchange, Aug. 29.
Col. Jeffrey Sanborn, Fort Bragg Garrison commander, said that Fort Bragg used to hold meetings like the CIE in the past and that it is an opportunity to share what’s going on across the installation.
“Other garrisons are doing this successfully and we’re using their model to help us have another avenue of providing information to you,” said Sanborn.
The panel of experts at the meeting included agency directors from across Fort Bragg, including the Directorate of Public Works, the Directorate of Emergency Services, the commissaries, AAFES, the Womack Army Medical Center commander, Corvias Military Living and more.
The agenda included an update from WAMC, information about Fayetteville State University’s Wellness Program, Survivor Outreach Services’ upcoming Parent’s Day event and the automated installation entry system.
Col. Steven Brewster, commander, WAMC, announced that Womack is preparing to open a weekend clinic for acute minor injuries and illnesses later this fall. He also spoke about increasing pediatric services by moving pediatricians to the primary care clinics and the addition of a pediatric cardiologist and adolescent medicine physician to the hospital.
Brewster also addressed the budget cuts the hospital is facing.
“Our budget was cut by $24 million this year,” said Brewster. “We expect it to be cut by $34 million next year. Our budget is based on our enrollment. Based on this, we are trying to increase our enrollment.”
For this reason, some patients in the Fort Bragg prime service area who currently have a civilian TRICARE network provider may soon have their enrollment moved to a primary care manager at WAMC.
Fayetteville State University focused on healthcare, sharing information about their wellness program. FSU’s Collaborative Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice provides alternate therapies and treatments for post traumatic stress disorder and other issues at no charge to servicemembers and their Families. Some of the services offered are counseling, massage and acupuncture.
Charlotte Watson, Survivor Outreach Services, said that there are 462 Gold Star parents living in North Carolina. Each September, SOS hosts an event to bring the parents together. This year’s event will be a dove release which is planned for later this month.
The last topic addressed during the meeting was the automated installation entry system. George Olavarria, director of Emergency Services, said the system will make Fort Bragg an open post with the benefits of a gated community.
“Once we go live with AIE, anyone wishing to come on Fort Bragg may do so,” Olavarria said. “Anyone who is not Department of Defense-affiliated will have to submit to a national criminal database check before entering the installation.”
He said that only people who have no warrants for their arrest will be allowed to enter the installation.
The system allows DoD identification cardholders the ability to simply swipe their ID cards to gain entrance to the installation. Any DoD ID cardholder living or working on Fort Bragg since before April is already registered in the system through a database sweep earlier this year.
DES will conduct another sweep to automatically register anyone arriving at Fort Bragg since April before implementing the system.
Visitors to the installation will be able to pre-register online and be expedited through the pass process when they stop at the All American Access Control Point to obtain their pass. All visitors wishing to access the installation will have to submit to the criminal background check, provide a fingerprint and have their photo taken at the All American ACP. Vendors will enter through the truck plaza off of Bragg Boulevard.
The date for implementing the system is not set yet, but it will probably not be until later this year.
Olavarria and the garrison commander assured attendees that the installation will not switch to using the system until they are confident that the switch will go as smoothly as possible.
“We will not switch to AIE until we’re fully ready,” said Sanborn. “And if we do make the switch and it isn’t working, we will be able to turn it off and switch back to the current way of doing things.”
The date for the next CIE has not been announced, but the command hopes to continue the exchanges monthly.