GEN Via Finds Unmatched Capabilities and Empowered Workforce at Corpus Christi Army Depot
September 5, 2012
Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) offered a warm welcome to the new commander of the United States Army Materiel Command (AMC), four-star General Dennis L. Via, during his inaugural tour, 5 Sep 2012.
General Via assumed command of AMC, 7 August , 2012. He is circulating throughout the AMC depots under his command to introduce himself and to learn more about those critical pieces of the Army.
"This is one of the places I really wanted to get to early on," GEN Via said of CCAD. "I'm in my third week so we're in the seat now. I know I'm on the ground for only a short amount of time and it's only a snapshot but his is an opportunity to tour some of the facilities and, most importantly, to meet some of the folks who do the work."
"You have a tremendous reputation for what you do here," GEN Via told CCAD leaders." It's a single point for aviation sustainment for the Army. You do that in a first-class way every day."
CCAD is the only facility capable of recapitalization, overhaul, repair and modification of all rotary-wing platforms and components for Department of Defense and foreign militaries. The programs available at CCAD increase capabilities and life span of critical aircraft that would have been grounded indefinitely. The crash battle damage repair program alone is a special asset to Army Aviation, achieving $922 million in cost avoidance in the past eight years while returning crash and battle damaged aircraft to the fleet.
"This capability is unreplicated anywhere else. You can deliver any capability to any department in the joint services," he said.
"I want to thank you for that because we've been at war now going for eleven years and aviation has been the workhorse in theater in Afghanistan and Iraq, but especially in Afghanistan. Our joint forces could not do their mission and sustain the type of readiness rates and reset that you've done here to keep our Army moving forward. I look forward to learning more about what Corpus Christi Army Depot is all about."
Commander Colonel Christopher B. Carlile emphasized that CCAD has revolutionized the way they do business to lower the cost of Army Aviation to respond to a changing operational tempo. "We are increasing production, reducing expenses while using less overtime and fewer contractor hours."
Last year, during their 50th year of dedication to Army Aviation, CCAD reorganized their business by utilizing the Logistics Modernization Program, showing transparency at every level, empowering the workforce and investing in capabilities and training to sustain maximum aviation readiness through a cost conscious culture.
"To be effective, you've hit on the important thing to drive and that's culture," GEN Via remarked. "Once you have a culture and you implement a process like [what you're doing at CCAD], the workforce takes ownership."
CCAD's method for employee empowerment puts the power to change in their hands. Teams of employees from the shop floor are developing new ways of doing business that are making CCAD more efficient. They are reducing wait times at gates, finding ways to spend less and to shorten process time, and have developed a method to reissue excess materials to shops in need.
"It's amazing what you can get from employees on the line when they are empowered," said GEN Via. "When astronauts were training to write in space, they spent a lot of money trying to get a pen to write when somebody simply asked why not just use a pencil. You have a goodness here and you just need to continue to build it. "
Like every department under DoD, however, CCAD is facing many limitations in funding but GEN Via sees CCAD owning the change and evolving for the future.
"You have tough choices to make but, being able to drive and go full-force with the choices you've made, that's what you're doing here. You're controlling your own destiny," said GEN Via. "I think that's the key. We're doing that and we have capacity to exceed even more. We're just on the front-end of this and that's pretty powerful."
"You are transforming from what you do and are moving forward. It's showing future thinking," he said.
"When you look at transitioning from war to sustainment, sustainment is what we'll be doing for a long time. There won't be new production. We'll transition to sustainment. We will field it and perfect it, sustaining as we go forward. This is the cost of maintaining to meet future contingency requirements we will face in the future," he said.
GEN Via sees an investment in Army Aviation as critical to all of DoD but it's an investment that needs to grow as it ages. At the ripe age of fifty, the infrastructure at CCAD is in need of investment to improve the facilities and grounds of operation. This would fuel a growth in capabilities that is only increasing.
"Twenty years ago, I was a Battalion Commander. The barracks were absolutely horrible but those were the kinds of barracks we had with an aging infrastructure. It was terrible and it didn't accommodate female soldiers. Then the Army said we needed to invest in the barracks and, now, they are first-class facilities but it was a sustained investment over time and that's what we need at CCAD."
"We know you can't replace every facility we have but there are single points of failure that are just a storm away from impacting the readiness that we need to push for so, every engagement we have with senior leadership to get information across, we should do so."
"We are responding to a critical need. We have to be able to respond quickly to build up that capability. We can't allow that to atrophy. With atrophy, over time, we'll lose that capability. This skillset in the CCAD workforce can't be found anywhere else," he continued.
"We need to get Warfighters here so they can take away the importance you do here and the value you bring," iterated GEN Via. "It's all about readiness, efficiency and generating combat power as we reset our Army after ten years of war."
The U.S. Army Materiel Command is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.