By Mrs. Cherish T. Gilmore (AMC)December 21, 2016
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- 2016 has been a busy year for the U.S. Army Materiel Command.
"AMC has never, ever slowed down their pace," according to the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley. "If you ask how an organization can do it during a crisis, at any moment, like Desert Shield or Desert Storm, it's because AMC does that every day, 365 days a year, every year, year in and year out."
This year, Milley charged the Army with the priority of readiness, and Army Materiel Command played its part through a variety of efforts.
AMC announced a Mission Command alignment to optimize life cycle sustainment in February. Three Research, Development and Engineering Centers and three Contracting Centers were realigned operational control under their respective Life Cycle Management Command.
The Communications-Electronics Command gained OPCON over Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center and Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Tank-automotive and Armaments Command gained OPCON over Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center and Army Contracting Command-Warren at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan. Aviation and Missile Command gained OPCON over Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center and Army Contracting Command-Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.
AMCOM Commander Maj. Gen. Douglas Gabram said that the mission command alignment, known within AMCOM as "unified action," has had several successes, from reducing contracting timelines to improving communication among the commands and with industry.
Innovation remained a priority in 2016 with Army Innovation Summits II and III calling together industry, academia and the leading government innovators in April and mid-August respectively.
The events brought together more than 250 leaders from industry, academia, DOD and Army to explore processes to achieve innovation, expand collaboration efforts, and refine the innovation initiatives developed at the first two Army Innovation Summits.
"It is critical to take a moment to pause, slow down and ask ourselves are we doing things right, and more importantly, are we doing the right things," said now retired Gen. Dennis L. Via, former AMC commander. "You can't achieve innovation all at once; it takes time and collaboration."
To encourage leadership and innovation, AMC announced the establishment of two Army Awards this year. The awards honor two distinguished leaders, retired Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg and the late Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, for the standards of excellence that they set. The Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg Sustainment Leadership Award recognizes Soldier and Civilian leaders who improve Army Sustainment in the areas of operating efficiencies, readiness levels, or fiscal responsibility. The Maj. Gen. Harold "Harry" J. Greene Award for Innovation is presented to Soldiers and civilians under the Army's Greatest Innovation Awards Program for innovative technologies and solutions that increase efficiencies, strengthen position and ultimately save lives on the battlefield.
Energy was another key effort for the Army and AMC. President Barack Obama issued a challenge to all federal agencies to achieve a total investment of $4 billion in energy-saving initiatives before the end of 2016. This year, the Army surpassed the $1 billion mark in energy savings performance with AMC's Anniston Army Depot awarding a utility energy service contract, valued at about $20 million, to clinch the milestone.
2016 marked several significant anniversaries as well. In June, Redstone Arsenal celebrated 75 years in a fashion fitting of the diamond anniversary, and AMC's Logistics Support Activity's PS Magazine celebrated 65 years by going digital. PS Magazine unveiled their digital app this summer, bringing Army maintenance to the palm of any Soldier with an Android or Apple device.
Army Materiel Command welcomed two general officers and three senior executive service members to its headquarters team at Redstone Arsenal in 2016. Maj. Gen. Steven Shapiro assumed duties as AMC Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Logistics, G-3/4, in June. Maj. Gen. Allan W. Elliott took over as AMC's Deputy Chief of Staff in August. Max Wyche is AMC's Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, G-1. He assumed responsibility in August. Nathan A. Godwin became the Director of the Current Operations Directorate, G-3/4, in June. Laura Avery was selected this summer to serve as an acting senior executive service member as the AMC Acting Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8.
In addition to the changes in the headquarters, all but two of AMC's major subordinate commands received new commanders. Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Gabram assumed command of AMCOM in February. Maj. Gen. Clark LeMasters took charge of TACOM in a May ceremony. Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen, Maj. Gen. Kurt J. Ryan and Brig. Gen. Richard B. Dix all took command in June of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command/Joint Munitions Command respectively. Finally, in August, Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins moved to the top of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, and Maj. Gen. Edward M. Daly took the reins at the U.S. Army Sustainment Command.
No change was larger, however, than that of Army Materiel Command's most senior leader. After four years with Via at the helm of AMC, 2016 also brought the Army a new senior logistician and AMC Commander -- Gen. Gus Perna.
Milley, who promoted Perna in a private ceremony preceding the change of command, called Perna the right leader to serve as AMC's 19th commanding general.
"There is no doubt in my mind that [Perna's] experience and background is the absolute right choice to lead Army Materiel Command in the strategic environment that we have today and into the future," Milley said.
Perna moved to the top of AMC with 35 years of military experience.
"I am convinced that if we focus our efforts and capabilities on what is important, and we hold ourselves accountable while working as part of the greater Army team -- the total Army team -- there will be no mission that we cannot accomplish," Perna said. "There is unlimited talent and energy in the 64,000 personnel that are in the Army Materiel Command."