Army commanders from depots, manufacturing arsenals and ammunition plants throughout the country gathered in South Texas, April 21-25, to discuss best business practices and lessons learned as part of the Army Materiel Command's Organic Industrial Base (OIB) Summit.

The exclusive forum gave commanders an opportunity to engage in a peer-to-peer discussion of business operations strategies as they transition to post-war workloads.

Army Materiel Command's Commanding General Gen. Dennis L. Via said in a teleconference that this type of summit will assist the OIB through this transitional period by building trust, competency and transparency.

"It connects the headquarters and our subject matter experts down to where the rubber meets the road. Nothing replaces being on the floor with the people doing the hard work," Via said. "We have to reset our Army. We have declining budgets. It's a period of transition and transitions are hard."

Corpus Christi Army Depot Commander Col. Billingsley Garner Pogue III hosted the summit and a Depot Assistance Visit.

"As we continuously assess ourselves, it is important to learn best practices from each other within the organic industrial base," Pogue said.

"[The summit] gave us the opportunity to talk to other commanders in a formal forum and an informal forum -- to talk about things we're wrestling with," said Col. Brent Bolander, commander of Anniston Army Depot.

The summit encouraged industrial facility commanders and key leaders of the Materiel Enterprise to interact more with each other to fully understand the strategic issues facing the OIB and maximize AMC's effectiveness and viability in a challenging resource environment.

"We are trying to speak with one voice," said Lisha Adams, AMC's director for Logistics Integration.

"Too many times people approach things between interdependent organizations as a problem that needs to be solved," Adams said, describing a "stovepipe" mentality where each facility becomes its own island and fails to communicate effectively with its peers and partners.

"We have to learn to work together and that's an ongoing process," she said.

Commanders quickly learned that their different command missions made collaboration a challenge.

"There is no cookie-cutter approach," said Col. Joseph Dalessio, commander of McAlester Army Ammunition Plant . The plant is the premier bomb loading facility and stores one-third of DoD's ammunition stockpile.

AMC Deputy Commanding General Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion urged the Industrial Base to think through all the imminent cultural and business changes ahead and prepare for the game changers. "Change is inevitable," McQuistion said. "People don't like change imposed upon them so you have to make them part of that change, which is what this group is about."

Opening lines of communication and speaking the same language were themes of the summit. The commanders realized that terminology needs to be streamlined to keep them engaged.

"It's important that we all get on the same sheet of music so when we start having the same set of problems, we're not all using different dictionaries to talk about them," said Col. Victor Hagan of Letterkenny Army Depot

By the end of the week, AMC leadership was pleased with the discourse occurring at the Army depot.

"I think these summits will help us through this transitional period," Via said. "We're taking best practices and lessons learned that will help us be a better Army as we go forward."

Page last updated Fri May 2nd, 2014 at 11:32