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By Devon Maresco
Like commercial and municipal facilities, military facilities benefit from a clear, top-down understanding of space allocation. To achieve this, administrators need to rely on military stack planning. Stack planning offers a clear and concise overview of all the space accounted for—whether it’s a small military facility or an entire military base. This information gives space managers the foresight they need to understand where and how military officials and employees utilize different spaces.
The key function of stack planning is to ensure available space meets demand in military facilities. This is especially important due to the specific nature of operations on-base or within high-security facilities. When the need for space arises, it tends to come with inflexible demands by nature. Stack planning ensures total available space fulfills demand.
What is military stack planning?
Stack plans offer a top-down view of space allocation within military facilities. This serves to show total representation of space by the determined criteria. How much of a military base’s total square footage do barracks and housing occupy? How much of a secure facility is delegated to Level II clearance and above? What is the cost associated with space allocated to fixed-use spaces on-base? The answer to these questions often exists within the stack plan.
Beyond understanding military space allocation, stack plans also help to shape that space to meet the needs of people using it. Stack plans bring together the context of spatial constraints and the need for space. For example, a stack plan might indicate that there’s 2,000 square feet of classroom space available on-base, split between three rooms, perfect to house data intelligence classes four days per week.
At the highest level, military stack planning is the concept of seeing space as a whole: how and where it’s allocated.
The benefits of stack planning for the military
From a military standpoint, stack planning is an essential tool in ensuring space is allocated appropriately among the many groups who need it—and the applications they need it for. This often means contending with very specific needs and ensuring there’s adequate space for groups to be productive within. Approached tactfully, stack planning offers several key benefits to building and base administrators:
- More efficient use of facilities, from both cost and operations standpoints
- Better understanding of space allocation and utilization
- Purposeful allocation of space to support the needs of military personnel
- Context for broader facilities data such as utilization and occupancy
- Insights and opportunities to repurpose or reallocate space
- Smarter spatial layout of facilities, to streamline accessibility
Stack planning insights offer the baseline for smarter decision-making about military facilities. Is there enough space to accommodate X, Y, and Z operations? Does the percentage of space allocated to A, B, and C justify their cost and utilization? The broader the understanding of total military facilities and their allocation, the more administrators can do to optimize space around the needs of groups and maximize the benefit they get from that space.
How does military stack planning software help?
The sheer complexity of planning space at military facilities necessitates the use of military stack planning software. Coordinating between the many groups, space types, activities and cost centers present in military settings takes software and digital intelligence to bring everything together accordingly.
Automated insights and stack planning data are perhaps the most important benefits afforded by software. The ability to quickly bring up a current stack plan and assess it through a variety of different lenses is instrumental in making quick decisions about important scenarios. Moreover, the sandboxing offered by stack planning software shows how those decisions play out at a macro level before administrators make any real changes.
Software is also quick enough to keep pace with the real-time changes occurring at military facilities. Moreover, the ability of facility managers to understand space dynamics at a glance trickles down into better management of facilities and bases on a day-to-day basis. For example, knowing that a certain type of space is over- or under-utilized can pave the way for a quick decision about where to house an activity today vs. where to house that same activity tomorrow or next week.
Above all else, stack planning software provides military space managers with the top-down, encompassing view of facilities they need. In a setting where every decision has an impact on total operations, macro stack insights are invaluable.
Optimize space allocation by understanding it
It’s important to remember that stack plans work both ways. Not only do they show the current allocation of space, they also represent opportunities to reconfigure and reallocate it to better serve the people using it. This enables administrators to make adjustments to space that better-support facility operations.
Should you turn the utility building on base into a new barracks to house recruits? Does the security building need more six-person conference rooms for intelligence briefings? The more facility managers understand demand for space, the more valuable a stack plan becomes.
Keep reading: Military Space Planning: Organized Administration for any Branch