REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Two of the Army's top officers teamed together on March 8 to deliver the message of Soldier readiness to representatives of defense contractors attending the Team Redstone Advance Planning Briefing for Industry hosted by the Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal's Sparkman Center.

Both Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche, deputy commander of the Army Materiel Command, and Brig. Gen. Doug Gabram, the new AMCOM commander, told about 400 attendees at the annual conference that, as Army chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley's top priority, Soldier readiness is the focus of all development, acquisition and sustainment activities within the Army's organizations.

AMC "supports readiness in global operations around the world," Wyche said, while AMCOM, as a major AMC subordinate command, supports aviation and missile system readiness to sustain global operations around the world. That readiness mission is also reflected in the Army's two other priorities of developing capabilities for the future force and taking care of Soldiers, civilians and their families.

"Together, our mission is to develop and deliver global readiness solutions to respond to what Soldiers need on the battlefield," Wyche said. "AMC provides strategic agility and operational capability. We are globally engaged and regionally aligned to the combatant command currently supporting operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Korea, Europe" and in other parts of the world.

"We need to transform into a more lethal, leaner and expeditionary force and we, frankly, need your help to get there," Wyche told the contractors in the audience, adding that the mission is more difficult in the wake of declining aviation budgets.

"There is an opportunity right now to help reshape our great Army for the next generation of leadership. This is truly a partnership when you reflect on what we did in the last 13 or 14 years. We couldn't have done it without you."

AMC leadership participate in four APBI conferences a year with major subordinate commands, including TACOM (Tank and Automotive Command, Warren, Mich.), CECOM (Communications-Electronics Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.), ASC/JMC (Army Sustainment Command/Joint Munitions Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.) and AMCOM.

reiterated the value defense contractors bring to the Army team, emphasizing the need for trust, teamwork, can-do attitudes and strong working relationships to develop a strong government-contracdtor partnership that moves the aviation materiel enterprise forward.

With only 20 days as the AMCOM commander, Gabram's emphasized that throughout the Army there is only one number one priority -- Soldier readiness.

"We have to be ready to go tonight," he said, adding that the acquisition life cycle is key to ensuring that Soldier readiness is realized everywhere in today's complex world where freedom is challenged. "We need to thrive in understanding that we are not just surviving, but winning, and that we are winning our nation's wars."

Noting that the cost of aviation systems continues to increase, Gabram said the Army needs good ideas from defense contractors to extend the life expectancy of major weapon systems. The entire team -- the Army and defense contractors -- must be focused on providing sustainable readiness at the point of an immediate or emerging need, he said.

"Industry helps turn ideas into valued outcomes," he said, adding that that Army needs industry assistance in finding ways to be more affordable while remaining effective.

AMCOM is focused on supporting acquisition, sustainment logistics, the organic industrial base, caliberation as well as field and sustainment in theater. The end result will be a reduction in the logistics footprint, a reduction in the Soldier burden, improvement in operational availability, support of an expeditionary avaition force, and a decrease in operational and sustainment costs as well as life cycle costs.

To increase Soldier readiness, AMCOM needs to manage a "decisive action capability," Gabram said. "We need to explore opportunities, increase relationships and increase communication. We've had a realiagnment through AMC that gives AMCOM operational control of AMRDEC (Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center) and ACC-R (Army Contracting Command-Redstone). AMC did this is for synchronization, prioritization and to reduce life cycle costs."

Wyche and Gabram set the stage for a sucessful Team Redstone APBI with an emphasis on readiness and the teamwork needed to ensure readiness, both emphasizing the APBI theme of "Teaming for Global Collaboration to Enable Responsive, Sustained Readiness."

Other speakers built on those words by focusing on how industry can help their organizations move forward with development and acquisition programs that are critical to readiness. Contractors heard from such several AMCOM elements, including the AMCOM Logistics Center, AMRDEC and Security Assistance Management Directorate as well as the Corpus Christi (Texas) and Letterkenny (Pa.) Army depots; and AMC elements, including the Logistics Support Activity, and several Team Redstone organizations, including the Program Executive Offices of both Aviation, and Missiles and Space; Army Contracting Command; Space and Missile Defense Command; Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville; and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

"One of my AMRDEC Director's Intent areas of focus centers on cultivating and sustaining partnerships. This includes industry," said AMRDEC director James Lackey, who spoke at the conference. "Given the size and complexity of our customer base, AMRDEC simply could not execute its mission without the direct engineering service and product development support from Industry.

"The Team Redstone APBI was a key event to facilitate ongoing insight and awareness of AMRDEC support need. By communicating our requirements, industry can better plan and assess how they can compete and possibly support our efforts. This opportunity to engage and network was a win-win activity for all."