Jack Surash, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment), walks through a unit in Fort Jackson Family Homes during his visit to Fort Jackson May 28. (Josephine Carlson)

By Josie Carlson, Fort Jackson Leader

Fort Jackson had a special guest May 26-27, J. E. “Jack” Surash, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment).

Several objectives for the visit included assessing installation management governance and effectiveness, as well as gaining a thorough

understanding of how OASA (IE&E) can support Fort Jackson.

According to Mark Cox, deputy garrison commander, these visits are crucial for the future of Fort Jackson.

“It is extremely important to highlight the importance of the Fort Jackson mission to visiting Army senior leaders,” Cox said. “We must continue to tell the Fort Jackson story and how our mission here supports Army readiness and ask Army senior leaders to continue to advocate for Fort Jackson priorities and equities in support of the Army mission.”

Another purpose of the tour was to assess the condition of facilities, infrastructure, ranges, energy programs and Fort Jackson housing.

“I was impressed with the detailed planning efforts behind Fort Jackson’s approach that it takes to properly plan, sequence, and construct the facilities for their important Army training mission,” Surash said.

Surash had previously served as acting DASA (Energy & Sustainability) since September 2016 and has been the acting ASA (IE&E) since January 2021. In his previous position he was responsible for overall program direction, establishment of policies, development and refinement of strategies, and oversight for implementation of all programs and initiatives related to Energy Security and Sustainability within the Army.

In his current role, he serves as the primary advisor to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army on all matters related to Army installation policy and oversight, and coordination of energy security and management.

One stop on the tour included the Child Development Centers. Sunny Bolton, coordinator for Child and Youth Services, showed Surash around and answered any questions about the centers and their programs.

“Jackson CYS was honored to be a part of Mr. Surash’s tour,” Bolton said. “Jackson CYS is integral to readiness and we were able to show Mr. Surash how important quality childcare facilities are and the direct impact to the mission if we don’t have up to date, safe facilities.”

Surash also had a meet and greet dinner to demonstrate the community partnerships that Fort Jackson has developed. “It is obvious that Fort Jackson maintains great relationships with local officials,” Surash said.

Surash’s visit also included stops at onpost housing and Semmes Lake Dam, while also viewing trainees going through Victory Tower.