By Elizabeth BehringFebruary 20, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The Army's senior logistician called on commanders and senior civilians from across the materiel enterprise to reflect on lessons learned during 17 years of war, and to re-focus their efforts on readiness and the future.
"Our responsibility is to synchronize, integrate and deliver materiel readiness to the entire Army, from start to finish. We drive change, and it's our job, not only to ensure we are effective, but that we remain that way," said Army Materiel Command's Gen. Gus Perna during the Commander's Forum here, Feb. 7-8.
Perna said the purpose of this year's forum was to give senior leaders the opportunity to address concerns in an open forum, and to provide them what they need to execute their visions. He noted the Army is at a strategic reflection point, and asked leaders to question their view of what readiness truly means for the Total Army.
"Are we ready today? Are we on the hamster wheel when it comes to contracts, or are we getting ahead of it? This is about seeing ourselves, understanding resources we need, how much time we need to get things done, where the priorities are and where we're going to lead our way through this. We can't be the Army Materiel Command of the old days," Perna said.
Perna said that in order to face present-day, real-world missions, the Army's focus must shift from its current mindset.
"Over two generations of leaders, warrant officers, NCOs and Soldiers have grown up in these 17 years of war, a war focused on a different type of enemy than most of us grew up trying to sustain for. They don't know what decisive action means or understand what decisive action against a near-peer competitor means. We turned the table with the Chief of Staff of the Army's guidance on decisive action, and this is a major change for our Army," Perna said.
That change, Perna said, needs to be reflected in how leaders personally define readiness. He encouraged them to think bigger than their organizations and key in on what the Army as a whole requires.
"Readiness is asking if your vehicles could leave the motor pool tonight, or if we can transport all our people by plane and ship to another country," Perna said.
He then outlined AMC's focus of synchronizing, integrating, maneuvering and delivering materiel readiness to the total Army.
"AMC's responsibility is to set the theaters, and we are tasked to increase materiel readiness -- whether it's building the Army with equipment, improving our supply availability, reducing backorders or talent management - we are totally responsible for increasing materiel readiness," Perna said.
"That doesn't just mean to maintain a narrow focus on what's happening in an individual depot or laboratory, or in an office cubicle. It also cannot be about the performance objective of one individual or the personality of one commanding general - it's got to be the totality of this organization thriving to improve materiel readiness. Nobody else does this for the Army, and if we're not doing it, we don't need to exist, Perna said.