By Hon. Katrina McFarlandApril 6, 2016
Since its inception, the United States Army has answered the call to protect our nation and safeguard our way of life. We are the greatest land force the world has ever known. We demonstrate our strength when we adapt to rise against evolving threats, and we are always ready for our next mission--whenever and wherever it may be. The Army Acquisition Corps, in turn, has a duty we hold sacred: to design, deliver and sustain the critical enabling capabilities our Soldiers need for mission success so that our Army can always achieve and maintain dominance. I am honored to join this impressive team as your acting assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology (ASA(ALT)).
None of us gets to choose when the next threat confronts our nation. Constant readiness--with a continued focus on modernization in a time of ongoing fiscal uncertainty--is how we ensure that our Soldiers will maintain the decisive edge against evolving threats.
After my arrival in this office, I outlined my three priorities for ASA(ALT) to guide our endeavors in this mission: people, products and processes.
One of the key tenets of the Better Buying Power program is professionalizing the acquisition workforce--our most critical asset. While serving as president of the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), I oversaw the development and expansion of acquisition curriculum and supported learning opportunities for over 150,000 members of the Defense Acquisition Workforce. The ASA(ALT) team has been equally dedicated to the professional development of the Army Acquisition Workforce and to strengthening the capacity of the acquisition, procurement, requirements and logistics enterprises to deliver affordable equipment to our Soldiers.
We must continue to prioritize this endeavor to ensure that our Soldiers maintain their advantage. The Army Acquisition Workforce is entrusted with being effective stewards of Army resources and with providing for the Army's current and future needs. With such a critical responsibility, it is imperative that we do all we can to develop the workforce by providing training opportunities and resources for professional growth. We will foster a culture of teamwork, mutual respect, adaptability and the highest levels of professionalism.
The products that the people of the Army Acquisition Workforce develop are the tools our Soldiers need to safeguard their decisive advantage on the battlefield. We must continue our efforts to design and deliver breakthrough technologies. To maintain our technical superiority, we have been dedicated to science and technology (S&T) investments that will drive our Army into the future. We have made steady progress on this front, but we cannot rest on our laurels. This commitment to innovation must continue to ensure that we are ready for our next engagement, whenever and wherever that may be.
For example, we will continue our efforts to upgrade the Army's aviation portfolio via the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demon�strator and Future Vertical Lift programs. We will work to mitigate the risk of aviation accidents by exploring solutions for degraded visual environments, allowing our Army aviators to operate in any environment, day or night, regardless of weather conditions. We must do the same for our ground forces. When we invest in S&T innovations, we invest in our vision for the U.S. Army--a force capable of meeting challenging fiscal climates head-on and maintaining our technological superiority over our adversaries.
As mentioned previously, I am dedicated to upholding the guidelines of the Better Buying Power program as a means of strengthening and reforming the acquisition process. The Army is facing significant challenges with rapidly increasing threats and decreasing modernization budgets. For years, its research and development (R&D) and acquisition accounts have declined at a significantly faster rate than the Army's top-line budget.
To meet these challenges, the Army acquisition community must continue to work toward achieving affordable programs; controlling life-cycle costs; incentivizing productivity in both industry and government; eliminating unproductive processes and bureaucracy; and improving tradecraft in acquisition. Our Soldiers need superior technologies and innovations more than ever--yet our ability to procure and field these solutions will be in jeopardy if we do not continue to streamline the acquisition process and make wiser choices for our return on investments.
As we pursue next-generation technologies to mature our aging fleets and portfolios, we must remember that it is not enough to modernize our technology--we must also continue to modernize our methods of acquiring it if we are to maintain our technological edge. Only then can we successfully deliver the capabilities our Soldiers need to accomplish their mission.
In this issue of AL&T magazine, you will discover how each of these three elements plays a crucial role in sustainment. To quote from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's "The United States Army Functional Concept for Sustainment, 2016-2028," "The provision of sustainment is an integrated process, involving people, systems, materiel, health services, and other support, which is inextricably linked to operations." To be successful in sustaining operations until mission accomplishment, we need the right people, products and processes.
Sustainment is intimately tied to our call to service. Like the Army acquisition enterprise's mission to constantly provide the best for our Soldiers, sustainment involves a persistent need to see each mission through. It is not enough to deliver materiel and solutions to our warfighters on the battlefield; we must also sustain the equipment we develop until the work is done and each Soldier comes home. This timely issue of AL&T magazine will illuminate the part all of us play in achieving this vision.
Our Army is witnessing a time of great change, but we remain steadfast in our pursuit of our ongoing goals. All of us in ASA(ALT) are charged with doing our part to strengthen Army acquisition. As your leader, I commit and challenge you to commit yourselves to achieving lasting acquisition reform.
Together, we will work toward attaining affordable and realistic requirements in Army programs. We will continue to leverage the groundbreaking technologies coming from small businesses. We will continue to recognize the pivotal role of the Army's S&T innovations in shaping the force of the future. We owe it to our Soldiers to constantly put our best foot forward, so that we may deliver the lifesaving solutions and critically enabling capabilities they need for mission success. The ASA(ALT) team has a long legacy of rising to challenges, and I am confident that our commitment to our Soldiers will continue to guide us to excellence.