By Bob DeMichele, CECOM Public Affairs, and Kim Hanson, AMC Public AffairsNovember 12, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The two senior leaders from the Army's Materiel Enterprise held a town hall at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., following the Army's first Joint Acquisition Sustainment Review (JASR) for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, Nov. 5.
Gen. Dennis L. Via, commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, and Hon. Heidi Shyu, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, addressed more than 700 members of the Materiel Enterprise workforce at APG about mission priorities in a time of budgetary uncertainty.
Speaking to employees from the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command; U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; Program Executive Office for Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical; PEO for Enterprise Information Systems; and PEO for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Surveillance, Shyu and Via both began remarks by stressing the importance of partnership between AMC and ASA (ALT).
"Today is a special day because I'm here with my battle buddy," said Shyu, referring to Via and AMC. "Together we are the materiel enterprise for the world's greatest Army."
Via echoed Shyu's comments, highlighting the magnitude of the materiel enterprise.
"We will succeed as a team with collaboration, trust and transparency," said Via.
Following brief opening remarks, the leaders answered questions from the audience including several focused on the current budgetary constraints and civilian manpower.
"We don't yet know what the end strength of the Army will be, but we can expect some sort of corresponding reduction to the civilian workforce," Via said. "The goal is to do as much as possible through normal attrition."
AMC intends to leverage VERA/VSIP, retirements and reassignments to downsize, and only use a Reduction in Force (RIF) as a last resort, he continued.
Shyu added that ASA (ALT) and AMC are also exploring the option to shift workforce across the materiel enterprise, when skill sets and vacancies allow.
The leaders were also asked to share strategic insights on the pivot of focus on the Pacific. Via stressed the need to regain the expeditionary edge.
"We need to ensure our systems are modernized and our Army Prepositioned Stocks are prepared, and shorten the timeline to get forces on the ground ready to operate," Via said.
Shyu emphasized the importance of establishing the next generation capability in case of conflicts in more advanced areas of the world.
"We can't operate as if we'll always have complete dominance of the battlefield," said Shyu. "We need the ability to better hit moving targets in bad environments."
The workforce also asked about the results from the JASR, the first event held between AMC and ASA (ALT) designed to identify issues and opportunities for further collaboration.
Shyu said the enterprise must garner greater efficiencies and that means that the Program Executive Offices must be tied to the life cycle management commands and the research and development capability.
"The best way to become more efficient is to work together collaboratively," she explained.
Via described the JASR as "hugely successful," identifying three overall takeaways from event. First, the great teaming that took place and talking across the table during the review made the event a success in and of itself.
"There has been nothing like it in more than ten years," he said.
Second, the JASR allowed the organizations to build relationships, trust and transparency. Third, he said the review was so valuable that instead of it being a quarterly function, he and Shyu would hold JASRs monthly. The leaders now intend to chair similar meetings at Redstone Arsenal focused on the Aviation community, Rock Island Arsenal focused on the Munitions community, and Warren, Mich., focused on the Tank and Automotive community -- in back-to-back months.
Via summed up the importance by saying, "As we transition out of war, we have to get it right and that means we can't do it in a stovepipe approach."
The Materiel Enterprise is one of the Army's four core enterprises and is responsible for materiel management from concept to combat. It brings together the organizations involved in providing materiel solutions for Soldiers and incorporates all the materiel life cycle functions to include research, development, acquisition, testing, distribution, supply, maintenance, industrial base operations and disposal.