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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard works toward sustainable armory plan

Minnesota National Guard ST PAUL, Minn- During a recent interview on Minnesota Military Radio, Col Larry Herke, Minnesota National Guard Construction and Facilities Management Officer, talked about the way forward as the Minnesota National Guard develops a 30-year plan to sustain its facilities around the state

"Currently we have 64 armories that are in 61 communities throughout Minnesota," said Herke "There are a few communities with more than one armory or readiness center, but we are distributed throughout Minnesota in order to do the functions of the Minnesota National Guard"

But, of those facilities, Herke says more than half are 50 years or older Maintaining aging infrastructure during a time when budgets are being continually cut is a challenge that Minnesota National Guard leaders are looking to solve in order to ensure that the Minnesota National Guard is best positioned to respond to citizens in the future

"We do definitely want to stay community-based, and that's our intent as we go forward," said Herke Congress has required that each state develop a plan that will be briefed to the Senate Armed Services Committee early next year Over the last year, the Minnesota National Guard has worked to determine how to be manage and maintain facilities across the state in a way that is fiscally responsible and environmentally sustainable

"The functionality of the building and the age are the two major factors that we're looking at," said Herke "It's just difficult with an older facility to keep it up We haven't been able to do a lot of the green initiatives that are coming forward in mandates from the federal government"

Herke and his team also took into consideration the location of the armories in relation to where the majority of Minnesota National Guardsmen live and work Having facilities located close to Soldiers' homes will help the organization retain personnel in the future

"We took a look at demographics - where people are moving," said Herke "Most of our facilities were built in the 50's and during that time period our demographics were such that we were balanced between urban areas and rural areas within the state What we find now, as we went forward, is that a majority of our Soldiers are in those urban areas"

As plans move forward for the construction, consolidation and closure of some Minnesota National Guard armories, the Minnesota National Guard will continue to look for ways to ensure its ability to support both domestic and overseas missions

To listen to the full interview on Minnesota Military Radio, visit http://minnesotamilitaryradiohourcom/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/MMR-113014-mp3 The interview starts at 24:00

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Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
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