The collective effort of the Army, industry and community will ensure the strategic rear -- the logistics and sustainment foothold behind the front lines -- will be strong and ready when needed, said the Army's senior logistician.

Speaking to an industry-heavy audience at the Association of the United States Army Community Partner Luncheon Oct. 8, Gen. Gus Perna, Army Materiel Command commander, said building and sustaining a strong strategic rear will ensure the force has what it needs during the fight.

"Sustainment is the foundation, not the afterthought, of the Army on the battlefield," Perna said.
He challenged industry to be part of the solution, focused on five key areas:

• Equipment readiness -- ensuring the right equipment is positioned in the right places and with the right units, and with breadth and depth in the supply chain to ensure repair parts are available for both immediate and future requirements;

• Munitions readiness -- receiving, storing and issuing munitions, with the right facilities, capabilities and sea and air transportation, for training and worldwide missions;

• Industrial base readiness -- building a strong industrial base, both commercially and organic, that works simultaneously as partners to drive down overhead and increase accountability for quality products;

• Power Projection readiness -- increasing the ability to project the force by air, rail and sea, with Army Prepositioned Stocks maintained and ready to draw;

• Enterprise Resource Planning readiness -- minimizing and connecting the multiple systems currently in use horizontally and vertically to create efficiencies and effectiveness.

"Think about the products that we collectively give our Soldiers," said Perna. "It has be the best; it cannot be measured in dollars and cents, or in metrics on a chart. It has to be measured by output on the battlefield, and most importantly, by the confidence the Soldier has in the equipment. This is what we are collectively working for."

Crediting the Army's senior leaders with providing clear direction and vision, Perna said the Army's four major commands are laser-focused on the priorities of readiness, modernization, taking care of people and reform.

"I tell you with great assurance that we know exactly what our leaders want and we know how to get there," he said. "The four commands together will ensure that we meet the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army's priorities, and most importantly, the Combatant Commanders' requirements."

Modernizing the force will take continued partnership between the Army and industry, said Secretary of the Army Mark Esper.

"Our six modernization priorities are clear and will not change; invest in us," Esper told industry during the AUSA opening ceremony earlier in the day.

Perna echoed the comments of senior leaders to close the luncheon: "We must remember the past. We must understand the present, but we must prepare for the future."