FORT POLK, La. -- The United States Government Accountability Office recently released a
analyzing the benefits of Intergovernmental Support Agreements (IGSAs). It indicated that out of the eight IGSAs selected for analysis, the one resulting in the most cost savings was the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk IGSA with Vernon Parish, Louisiana, for waste removal services -- totaling an estimated $1.9 million in savings.
"This is a prime example of the substantial benefits that result from Fort Polk partnering with the community -- not only for the installation, but on the civilian side as well," said Michael Reese, Fort Polk Progress President. "This partnership ensures that Fort Polk remains competitive and the most cost-effective installation in the Army."
The second highest ranking IGSA in cost savings was from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia with $270,793.
In 2013, Congress authorized the development of IGSAs among military branches and local and state governments for installation support services.
As of July 2018, 45 IGSAs at 33 installations had been approved, allowing local and state governments to provide various installation services, including waste removal, grounds maintenance, road maintenance and more.
The Fort Polk and Vernon Parish IGSA for waste removal services was developed in early 2017. It consists of Fort Polk partnering with the Vernon Parish Police Jury to conduct waste collection and removal operations, sorting field waste associated with the rotational training mission at Fort Polk.
This sorting is required by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality as a preventative measure to keep dangerous items from entering the waste stream. The police jury conducts the solid waste removal for Vernon Parish, and is able to take on solid waste sorting and removal at Fort Polk.
According to the report, without an IGSA in place at Fort Polk, installation officials estimated the cost from a private contract being $4.5 million from June 2017 through May 2018. The cost of the IGSA in place was substantially lower with approximately $2.6 million for the same time period.
"We appreciate the willingness of Vernon Parish to work with Fort Polk to come up with cost-effective solutions that benefit everyone," Reese said.
In addition to the cost savings, soldiers training at the JRTC can focus on combat readiness training, instead of trash sorting.
"Fort Polk is an asset to our local communities, and we aim to support its soldiers," Reese said. "This partnership ensures that soldiers will be able prepare for their mission, without distractions."
The GAO report acknowledged this benefit, stating that these IGSAs result in "enhanced mission effectiveness and readiness" and "reduced administrative time and greater flexible."
It cited Fort Polk as an example, stating that with the IGSA in place with Vernon Parish, soldiers are no longer assigned to grounds maintenance duty, such as waste removal. The military personnel are now able to focus on training for their mission, as guided by the U.S. Army.