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NEWS | Oct. 6, 2022

Col. Mitchell Wisniewski: Commanding Joint Force Convergence and the Road Ahead

By Senior Airman Matt Porter 87th Air Base Wing

U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Wisniewski, Army Support Activity Fort Dix commander and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst deputy commander, is no stranger to the Department of Defense’s only tri-service base or the Joint Force.

As the Army begins its largest modernization effort in 40 years, Wisniewski plans to make ASA Fort Dix the U.S. Army Reserve’s premiere training installation – a vital asset in meeting the readiness requirements of all services and not just its own.

A strategic mind with 26 years of leadership experience, including roles at the Joint Staff and combatant command levels, Wisniewski brings the ability to forge partnerships, leverage assets and infuse the Joint Force with a warrior ethos necessary to face the challenges ahead. His Army career began in 1996 when he was commissioned from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at John Carroll University as a Transportation lieutenant, and today, he is joined in the role of a “dual-hat” commander by his wife and two sons.

“I chose the U.S. Army based on the financial support they provided for my college education,” said Wisniewski. “I have stayed with the Army for the last 26 years because I enjoy what I do. Every position offers new opportunities to learn new skills, meet new people and explore different parts of the country.”

Having led at each level of the Army, from platoon to company, as well as serving on the Staff and Combatant Command level with all three service components, the role as a deputy commander of a joint base is a familiar one.

“I believe those experiences have allowed me to overcome the handicap of looking through an Army only lens,” said Wisniewski. “The greatest lesson I learned from those roles has been that respecting the different cultures of the Joint Force does not mean you give up your own service. Instead, you come to realize that we are all working toward the common defense of our nation, and that by leveraging our strengths, ideals and skill sets, we are stronger together than we ever were separate.”

In keeping with this ideology, Wisniewski has practical approaches for how ASA Fort Dix’s mission can supplement those of the other services on the joint base.

“The ASA Fort Dix team must continue to build upon the relationships with our customers, joint partners and the surrounding community that have been fostered over the years,” said Wisniewski. “We must also keep in perspective our mission and who we serve, with an understanding that it often takes more time and resources than available to achieve desired results; and more importantly, that how we communicate is just as important as what we communicate.”

A 40-year modernization effort isn’t achieved overnight. With this in mind, Wisniewski said he’s sowing seeds now that will come to fruition in 10 to 15 years as a long-term strategy.

“I would like ASA Fort Dix to have a solid foundational infrastructure that will allow it to be resilient as both an installation and an organization,” Wisniewski said. “The installation’s infrastructure is old, so we’re working with the 87th Civil Engineer Group on future improvements to the quality of life here. We are also looking at how we operate by reviewing current policies and procedures to ensure that our organizational infrastructure changes will meet future mission requirements.”

Wisniewski also understands that the daunting task of a successful joint force convergence at the joint base relies heavily on ASA Fort Dix’s training capabilities serving as the cornerstone of total force readiness requirements.

“Our garrison has the responsibility of managing the training areas and ranges for the installation, and this provides us with visibility across all our different training partners regardless of service,” said Wisniewski. “By leveraging our capabilities, the joint base can reduce the typical stove-piped training methodology and support an environment for the entire Joint Force to meet and maintain readiness requirements.” 

ASA Fort Dix has the facilities to process, train, feed and house thousands of service members simultaneously as demonstrated through past mobilizations in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as Operation Allies Welcome, he said. The Joint Base provides a proven capability to execute Joint Force training, large-scale mobilizations, and rapid deployments in support of Combatant Command requirements.

“This installation provides you the unique opportunity to train and work with our joint partners, which we will deploy with during current and future operations,” said Wisniewski. “Do not leave here saying you wished you worked with the Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard or Space Force before having to share a foxhole with them. Get out there and make those connections; it’s now or never.”