By Greg Mahall, CECOM PAOSeptember 29, 2014
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland--The two senior leaders from the Army's Materiel Enterprise completed their second joint town hall meeting here on Aberdeen Proving Ground last Friday.
The meeting, including a question-and-answer session, followed the completion of the Army's ongoing Joint Acquisition and Sustainment Review (JASR) for the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) materiel enterprise and for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) materiel enterprise as well.
Gen. Dennis L. Via, Commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, and the Honorable Heidi Shyu, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, spoke to a Myer Auditorium crowd numbering nearly 700 members of the APG workforce from Team C4ISR and Team CBRNE centers of excellence.
These centers of excellence are responsible for materiel management from concept to combat. The review brings together all of 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. The focus of the reviews is on joint acquisition issues and challenges of C4ISR/CBRNE systems to include, among other things, transitioning them from production to sustainment.
The town hall audience included staff from the C4ISR community including the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command; the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical; the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems; and the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Surveillance. Team CBRNE included staff from the Joint Program Executive Office -- Chemical and Biological Defense, the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center, the Program Executive Office for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, and the U. S. Army Chemical Materials Activity.
Shyu said the JASR provides a great opportunity to understand the challenges faced by the AMC and ASA (ALT) work forces. "The life cycle of a product requires an integrated system that demands critical cooperation across domains both internal and external to the Army," she explained. "We have a responsibility to design and deliver the best product possible for our warfighters. Open and transparent communications at all levels aids in that process."
Via described the JASR as the continuation of an "impressive process."
"We have built trust and transparency into a materiel enterprise that is in a challenging position not seen 12, or six or even three months into the recent past," he said. "Where we are going, in the immediate future or further down the road is also uncharted waters, but no matter where the future takes us, our troops will demand and deserve our continued, dedicated and unwavering support."
The spirited, hour-long question-and-answer session raised many discussion points: life cycle maintenance, transition, Army-wide decision-making processes, end strength of the future Army, the global materiel enterprise, logistics, reorganizations, interaction with industry, and the challenge of the federal acquisition process.
Via and Shyu made multiple overarching points: cyber defense investments, enduring challenges, emerging threats, technology proliferation, affordability challenges and sequestration. They both closed with comments on just how involved each and every member of the workforce is.
"The best Army in the world is in this room," said Shyu, citing not only the closing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the enduring efforts demonstrated by the accomplishments of the CBRNE work of destroying Syrian chemical munitions on the MV Cape Ray, the ongoing fight against Ebola in western Africa, the expanding work in Eastern Europe with the Ukraine, and the threat of ISIL in the Mideast.
Maj. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, CECOM Commanding General and senior commander of APG, closed the afternoon, thanking the participants and acknowledging that their presence on APG and in hosting the town hall, "shows the entire Army community that they (Via and Shyu) set the example and avail themselves to the work force --- reinforcing your commitment to us and to our Army."