Looking at challenges, initiatives to retain the Army's Industrial Base at Watervliet
July 1, 2014
- Army Materiel Command hosts a workload summit at Watervliet to help maintain the arsenal's critical capabilities
- Arsenal has seen countless ebbs and flows of defense budgets, workload summit may help it ride this new era of declining defense budgets
- Story: Apprentices have an important role in sustaining the Army's industrial base
- Story: Instilling Soldiers' confidence in their weapon systems is a 200-year tradition at Watervliet
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WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. (July 1, 2014) -- Faced with significant cuts to defense weapons spending, Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion led a team of logistics experts on July 1 at the Watervliet Arsenal as part of a strategy to ensure the Army's Industrial Base remains relevant and well postured to support the future Army.
McQuistion, who is the deputy commander of the Army Materiel Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., said that she and subject matter experts from throughout the Army's logistics and technology fields are looking at challenges and initiatives that will assist the long-term viability of the Army's industrial base.
The title of this new AMC initiative is, "Organic Industrial Base for Force 2025 and Beyond." To support this strategy, McQuistion and her team are meeting this year at depots and arsenals throughout the country, such as the Watervliet Arsenal, to chart out a course that will better direct the unique capabilities of the industrial base in an era of declining defense budgets.
"The Watervliet Arsenal is not so much a Department of Defense capability, it is also a national treasure," McQuistion said. "History has been written here, and it is a great history, but what we need to do today is to help write the future."
In speaking to the broader audience at the summit, McQuistion added that as partners in the Army's Industrial Base, they collectively need to better understand the implications to arsenals and depots when faced with declining defense budgets and requirements.
"We can no longer make bold proclamations and then not take bold action," McQuistion said. "Now is the time to embrace change if we are to remain relevant."
McQuistion said this summit provided a great opportunity to discuss the challenges facing the arsenal. But more importantly, the summit provided a venue to look at possible solutions to retaining the arsenal's critical skill capabilities that have supported every U.S. Soldier since the War of 1812.
McQuistion often referred to the arsenal's storied 201 years of support to the war fighter and used that history to paint a picture of the arsenal's resolve to work its way through today's challenges.
"You have countless points of reflection in your 201-year history of surviving declining defense budgets," McQuistion said. "As you recall in 1990, things looked about the same way as they do today and look what happened. You will get through this…as you will be needed again."
This was McQuistion's first visit to Watervliet. Although she received a tour of the arsenal's capabilities and capacity, much of her time was in serious dialogue with the arsenal's leadership.
This workload summit, which was also attended by several weapon program managers and representatives from the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, was the first of its kind hosted at Watervliet. Although hope is not a plan, there are many at the arsenal who are hopeful that today's summit may bring new work and therefore, long-term viability to the arsenal.
The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility and is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States having begun operations during the War of 1812. It celebrated its 200th anniversary in July 2013.
Today's arsenal is relied upon by U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. This National Historic Registered Landmark has an annual economic benefit to the local community in excess of $100 million.