2011: A Redefining Year as ADC Expanded the Roles it Plays for Defense Communities
For ADC, 2011 was a year to redefine its role as the association embarked on an array of new initiatives designed to raise the profile of defense communities on Capitol Hill, help communities forge stronger ties with military installations and enhance the services offered to members.
Amid a backdrop of looming cuts in defense spending, ADC rolled out new programs in each of the association’s focus areas. In conjunction with one of its strategic goals — promoting installation efficiency and innovation — ADC hosted a Defense Policy Forum in Washington that brought together community leaders, DOD officials and private sector partners to discuss new ways to establish public-public partnerships between communities and the military services.
Perhaps ADC’s most exciting achievement in 2011 was launching the Defense Communities Caucus, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers helping to provide a unified voice in Congress for communities that host active and closed installations. The caucus — which already has more than 40 lawmakers — is chaired by longtime ADC supporter Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and second-term Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.). It will serve multiple roles — promoting a dialogue on defense community issues; serving as a liaison between Congress, DOD and the private sector; and advancing legislation to strengthen defense communities.
ADC established the Military Families Task Force this year to advance communities’ support for military families and raise the quality of life in defense communities. 2011 also marked ADC’s engagement with the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, the campaign led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to mobilize all Americans to support military families.
The association continued its mission to serve base closure communities in 2011, working to accelerate the efficient cleanup, transfer and reuse of former military property. At the 2011 Annual Conference in Norfolk, ADC hosted a first-of-its-kind retreat for local redevelopment authority directors to share best practices, successes and challenges. The association also assumed a greater role in Washington policy discussions about downsizing through meetings and briefings on Capitol Hill, town hall forums with DOD and the military services at ADC conferences, and increased visibility in the media.
Following the transition of ADC’s management to LRG Public Affairs in October 2010, the association introduced a number of other changes as well:
- launched Defense Communities 360 Daily;
- introduced a new look for www.defensecommunities.org;
- convened an ADC task force to provide feedback on proposed legislation to create a civilian BRAC commission to expedite the disposal of unneeded federal properties; and
- formed a strategic alliance with the International City/County Management Association.
The association’s achievements are chronicled in ADC Redefined, an annual report for 2011 as well as a strategic plan for 2012. Members will receive a copy of the document later this week in the mail. ADC Redefined also is available on the association’s website.
2012: Defining the Future
Looking ahead, ADC plans to build on its 2011 accomplishments to meet the needs of defense communities as they attempt to deal with new budget constraints. 2012 will be a year to strengthen ADC’s role as the voice of communities as the association expands its grassroots network of defense communities to participate in Washington discussions on downsizing and BRAC. The association also will try to attract broader participation in the Defense Communities Caucus and increase its membership to 75 lawmakers.
Similarly, ADC will continue to promote public-public partnerships within DOD as a way to improve efficiency, while working toward solving challenges associated with carrying out public-private partnerships. The association also will continue to work closely with the Joining Forces campaign as ADC expands its effort to support military families.
ADC will introduce a new publication, the Journal of Defense Communities, to provide a forum for members to share best practices and lessons learned. To update members on more timely topics, the association will host a series of webinars addressing new and emerging issues. ADC also plans to host a Defense Policy Forum next year.
In 2012, members also can look forward to the Winter Forum in Miami on Feb. 27-29 and the Annual Conference in Monterey, Calif., on Aug. 5-8. Both will offer a wider range of session formats than employed previously and provide opportunities to learn about the new fiscal environment facing the military and defense communities.