FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Senior leaders and partners from the Mojave Desert region discussed solutions to shared problems that could potentially impact how DoD warfighters train and fight in future operations during the Mojave Commanders Summit (MCS) at the National Training Center, Oct. 26.
This year’s summit was hosted at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin, with opening comments made by Brig. Gen. Curtis Taylor, Commander of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin.
“From our perspective, this is a great opportunity for us to come together to talk about our shared interest both within the Department of Defense and the State of California,” said Taylor “Our priority is the quality of life for our Soldiers, Families, and civilians, but also the preservation of the best training site in the U.S Army.”
Briefings during the summit included renewable energy, encroachment issues, water rights, military spouse license reciprocity, deficiencies in health care providers at remote and isolated installations and the future impact of recently passed California legislature Assembly Bill 1346, which will require the phasing out of gas-powered small engines by 2024.
During the commander’s roundtable discussion, a common issue between installations in the Mojave region is understaffed medical and family dental services. According to Scott Morgan with the Governor’s Military Council, the cost to fly a medical or dental provider to an installation could potentially be cheaper than having a family member drive to obtain medical or dental services over long distances.
“I’m pretty confident that between China Lake, Fort Irwin, and Edwards AFB we could keep a lot of specialists busy,” said Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, commander of 412th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base “Every time I don’t have to send an active duty member to accompany a dependent down to UCLA for a routine appointment, I would essentially gain back a duty day for that member, or potentially save TDY cost.”
Most commanders agreed that a circuit rider program where military and civilian medical providers could be flown from one installation to another to help service specialty needs, or short-staffed medical departments in the Mojave region is a good idea.
The Mojave Commanders Summit was established in June 2012 to facilitate a platform for commanders to discuss critical and rising issues that could impact the viability and integrity of installations across Navy Region Southwest, Edwards Air Force Base, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms and the U.S. Army’s National Training Center.
The Mojave Commanders Summit is scheduled to meet again prior to the Governor’s Military Council in 2022.