By Ms. Julie A Frederick (AMCOM)May 7, 2018
Aviation and Missile Command's Commander Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram reminded Army aviators to think about the Army's purpose when he spoke at the 2018 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit in Nashville.
Gabram addressed more than 500 Army aviators and guests about sustaining the fleet during the professional sessions April 27. The event was hosted by the Army Aviation Association of America.
The Army's objective is to win the nation's wars. In order to win the war, the Army's number one priority is readiness.
Essentially the challenge for the Army's aviation leadership is to balance the current fight with how to modernize the aviation fleet and prepare for the next generation of Army aviators coming up the ranks, Gabram explained. He reminded the aviators that operations tempo will not slow down even when the battlefield changes. Even so, Army aviation must be ready.
In that regard, one challenge Army aviation must work through is how to support large-scale combat operations on potentially multiple fronts with the right parts at the right time for our aviation systems and Soldiers. According to Gabram, in an effort to be more efficient and avoid excess equipment challenges, the Army has been operating in a "just-in-time" mentality toward both supply and maintenance for the last 10 to 15 years. That mindset must change so that the Army is "ready to fight tonight."
The Army has been in a constant state of engagement in a counter-insurgency operation for 17 years, Gabram explained.
"We had to make significant changes to support Soldiers being sent into battle in a terrain and combat style that is vastly different from previous combat operations," he said.
Now, the Army is looking at a potential threat for which they will have to adjust again to support effectively.
As the AMCOM commander, Gabram is responsible for ensuring Army aviation is a readiness factor in facing that potential threat. To do so, Army aviation must have a supply chain that supports sustainment and provides parts when and where they are needed, even in contested environments.
"Supply chain depth is a concern," Gabram said. "What are our top 10 readiness drivers? I would argue that we need more engines, blades, transmissions and main rotor heads just for a start.
"Our goal right now is to figure out how to provide depth in those key components. We will not lose a war because we do not have enough engines on the shelf. We have to look at the entire holistic supply chain, but I believe that supply chain depth in some of our key items is where we need to improve first."
AMCOM is striving to achieve 100 percent supply availability, which directly correlates to achieving fully mission capable units, Gabram explained.
The Army aviation enterprise must stay closely tied with their industry partners. AMCOM's leaders meet monthly with industry to ensure the Army and vendors are working toward a common goal.
"We need to continue working to get the right parts and intellectual property to help us best support our systems into the future," Gabram said.
Gabram also discussed AMCOM's imperative to achieve speed, accuracy and quality in responding to the Army's aviation needs. AMCOM and its partners are focused in all three areas but acknowledge that there's always room for improvement.
Gabram, a seasoned Army aviator who has had multiple combat deployments, closed his remarks by reminding the aviators of their responsibility to other Soldiers.
"We are responsible for taking care of the current fight, meeting our objective to win the war, and maintaining eternal trust with the ground forces. We are going to be there for our ground Soldiers when it's dark and scary. And we are going to take care of the next generation just as well," he said.
Gabram, along with other Army aviation senior leaders, participated in several events during the three-day symposium, including speaking to members of the media and speaking at a breakout session with National Guard aviators.