AMC commander praises 'artisan workforce,' discusses way ahead
February 21, 2013
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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Feb. 21, 2013) -- Army Materiel Command's continued support to the warfighter in spite of looming fiscal cuts was the key focus of a presentation by Gen. Dennis L. Via., commander of Army Materiel Command, Feb. 21.
"Every day, our command maintains our focus on the joint warfighter," Via said during remarks at the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Via recently returned from a trip to forward deployed locations, visiting Army Materiel Command, or AMC, units and deployed Soldiers.
"Not one Soldier asked me about the budget," he said. "They are focused on the mission at hand. "
AMC will focus on optimizing capabilities as we march toward 2020 and beyond, according to Via.
"As the Army transitions from combat readiness to a more [continental U.S.]-based force, and as we begin to regionally align our forces, as the Army moves forward - AMC is already there, ready to provide support," he said. "AMC's presence provides Army and Joint readiness around the globe."
The organic industrial base was also a key component of the commander's discussion.
"When I was a young captain, I could send my shelters to a place called Tobyhanna, and it would come back as if it were brand new. Over the years, I gained an even better appreciation of the tremendous capabilities our depots and arsenals provide to the nation," Via said.
AMC has more than 20 one-of-a-kind facilities that provide capabilities that, in many cases, do not exist elsewhere in the United States.
"These depots and arsenals have surged to meet operational needs from theater," Via said. "They take those needs, turn them into a capability, test it at Aberdeen Proving Ground, manufacture it at Rock Island Arsenal, or Bluegrass Army Depot, and ship it back to theater."
Via specifically mentioned the development of add-on-armor and the double-v hull for the Stryker as innovations that came from AMC's organic industrial base facilities.
In addition to quickly meeting the needs of America's joint services, the facilities are typically the economic engines for the local communities, Via said, returning $1.83 for every $1 invested.
"Our employees there are second and third generation artisans in many cases," Via said. "You cannot replicate the skill sets they have developed over the past decades. Our depots and arsenals, and the employees who work there, are national treasures for the Army, the Department of Defense and the nation."
The pending sequestration may result in up to 5,000 terminated jobs at AMC facilities, Via said, and will result in a $3.4 billion impact to those local economies.
The looming threat has not slowed the AMC workforce's motivation, according to Via. "At the end of the day, our successes depend on our people. Even faced with uncertainty, they continue to give 110 percent every day."
AMC is bracing for, and planning for, the impacts of sequestration.
Sequestration, along with the issues connected to the Continuing Resolution, will have an impact on every AMC command and organic industrial base, or OIB, facility with exception of those in direct support of combat operation, Via told the assembled group of military and defense industry attendees.
"We are facing cancellations of depot maintenance as directed by the Department of Defense, which creates second and third order effects. When you cancel two quarters of work, that will exacerbate the situation as we go down the road," Via pointed out, adding that delays in the predictive timeline can take one to three years to repair.
Sequestration will halt the reset of 1,000 tactical wheeled vehicles, 14,000 communications devices, and 17,000 weapons in active and guard units. Other impacts will include a delay in equipment reset and readiness for six Army Divisions; work stoppages at some depots and arsenals; and a reduction in purchase orders to 3,000 commercial companies across the U.S. Like all other federal agencies, AMC's 74,000 workforce also face potential furloughs. About 96 percent of AMC's workforce is Army civilians.
According to Via, the most immediate and visible impact of sequestration will be at Directorates of Logistics across Army installations. AMC took control of 73 DOLs from Installation Management Command late last year.
Despite the fiscal challenges, there are opportunities ahead for AMC, according to Via.
The Army's Organic Industrial Base Strategic Plan was approved in mid October. It takes a holistic approach to the OIB, and emphasizes the comprehensive framework and core workload capability. It also encourages the use of Public-Private Partnerships.
"We really want to talk about 'P3,'" Via said. "We believe there are opportunities that can help private industry and the Army. Our facilities are not the OIB of the past. We've done extensive retooling in many of the facilities. In many cases, they have become the benchmark."
The P3 program currently supports more than 349 businesses, generating $218.6 million and supporting nearly 2,600 government and private industry jobs, Via said.
"It provides us an opportunity to continue the great partnership and alignment we have with industry," He said.
Another opportunity facing AMC is Foreign Military Sales, according to Via.
"FMS presents a win, win, win for the Army, our allies, and the defense industry," Via said. AMC predicts $12.2 billion from FMS in 2013.
"At the end of the day, what AMC delivers through equipping, sustaining, integrating and enabling --is Army and joint readiness," Via said.
"In spite of looming threats, the one thing we are focused on is this - we will never let the warfighter down," Via said. "AMC is trusted by Soldiers, allies, and teammates. It took us many years to gain, and we are not willing to lose that trust. If Soldiers are preparing to deploy, they will get the equipment and materiel they need to perform their mission."
"We will maintain our focus and priority on the warfighter, and use the resources we're given to the best of our abilities," Via added. "We are fully engaged in the current fight, but transitioning to sustainment; at the end of the day, it's all about the Soldier."
AMC by the numbers
* 96 battalion and brigade commands
* 50 states with an AMC presence of impact
* 144 countries with AMC support
* $135.6 billion dollars in Foreign Military Sales
* $49.9 billion dollars in the AMC fiscal year 2012 budget
* $74.1 billion dollars in contract obligations in fiscal year 2012
* 3,515,106 pieces of equipment reset since 2003
* 24 brigade combat team equivalent units reset in fiscal year 2012
* 181,900 pieces of equipment to be reset in fiscal year 2013
* 10,865 scientists and engineers
* $1.6 billion dollars in research and development in fiscal year 2013
* 8,867 mechanics, electricians and machinists
* $500 million dollars in joint depot work in fiscal year 2012
* $600 million dollars in joint parts supply in fiscal year 2012
* $1.83 average return on investment to the local community for every $1 invested
* 73,400+ dedicated AMC employees worldwide
* 1 customer -- the Joint warfighter