REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - During 17 years of war, defense contractors have shouldered a significant amount of the Army's support mission, working side by side with civilians and Soldiers to ensure readiness.

Army Materiel Command's Executive Deputy to the Commanding General Lisha Adams thanked defense contractors for that support March 6 at the Team Redstone Advance Planning Briefings to Industry.

"We can't accomplish our mission without partnerships, especially with industry," Adams said. "Industry has worked with the Army, developing and fielding equipment and parts to empower, unburden and protect Soldiers."

Equipping, sustaining and enabling the warfighter is a tremendous responsibility shared 50/50 by Army civilians and contractors, Adams said, noting defense contract employees make up half of Army Materiel Command's workforce.

In fiscal year 2017, Army Materiel Command obligated more than $60 billion in contracts, with 50 percent in weapon systems and 50 percent in service contracts. Forty-five percent of those contracts were valued at $150,000 or less.

Army Materiel Command relies on defense contractors as it works toward achieving high priorities.

"Where we are going in the future is all about readiness, reform and modernization," Adams said. "We need to be ready to fight tonight and ready for tomorrow's fight."

Army Materiel Command received additional appropriations in fiscal year 2017 for readiness recovery, she said. It is expected that additional appropriations will also be provided in fiscal year 2018. But, those appropriations will cease at some point, and the Army has to be prepared to generate resources from within to modernize and sustain readiness.

"We have to be able to reform and be more efficient with the resources we have," Adams said. "We have to modernize and maintain our overmatch ability."

Readiness priorities for Army Materiel Command include supply availability, depot maintenance and building the Army. Army Materiel Command is improving supply availability. Contractors can help by ensuring parts are delivered on time and in the best quality.

Adams noted the Army's organic industrial base plays a readiness role by generating combat power for Soldiers. In fiscal year 2017, Army Materiel Command relied on more than 300 public/private partnerships across the organic industrial base.

"The best way to deter war is to be ready," Adams said. "So another priority for the Army is setting the theater with pre-positioned stocks strategically placed for Soldier readiness."

Army Materiel Command manages pre-positioned stock sets strategically located around the world, both ashore and afloat.

As the Army strives to increase efficiency, contracting is an area that is being looked at closely throughout the Army to pinpoint efficiencies.

"The Army believes we can be more efficient in our contracts. That will generate more resources going forward," Adams said. "We need to understand the requirements of these contracts and the should-cost requirement."

The Army is using a technique known as clean-sheeting to determine contract efficiencies.

The Army is also looking at consolidating requirements into single contracts where it makes sense. For example, the Aviation and Missile Command as well as the Forces Command and U.S. Army Pacific Command all have aviation maintenance contracts.

Yet, another option for contracting efficiencies is to use Other Transaction Agreements - known as OTAs - when speed is essential to developing a new technology or capability. OTAs are used for research and prototype actions that use a nontraditional defense contractor or small businesses or have at least a third of its total cost paid by parties other than the government. They can be valued at up to $250 million.

In the area of modernization, top priorities are long range precision fires, the next generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, mobile/expeditionary networks, aviation and missile defense, and Soldier lethality.