WASHINGTON -- The ability to give maneuver commanders what they need when they need it is the true task of Army logisticians, said Army Materiel Command's top leader during an Association of the United States Army panel on Sustaining the Force, Oct. 9.

"This is the art and science of logistics that we must apply," said Gen. Gus Perna. "We have to understand the situation and the environment so that we can provide what is needed before they have to ask for it."

With the pending release of Multi-Domain Operations doctrine, and the subsequent update of logistics doctrine, Perna challenged Army logistics leaders and industry to focus on five key areas:

• Materiel readiness -- ensuring the right equipment is positioned in the right places 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 war;

• Industrial Base readiness -- building a strong industrial base, both commercially and organic, that supports readiness today and maintains the ability to surge for future requirements;

• 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.

"When they define the strategic rear, I want you to think five things," Perna said. "Because if we don't get these five things right, if we don't get them to a place where they are our core competency, then it won't matter what we do on the battlefield."

Addressing several logistics reform areas, AMC Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Ed Daly said the Army increased capital investments by nearly $2 billion over the past two years for secondary items and repair parts to increase supply availability. At the same time, AMC laterally transferred about 596,000 pieces of equipment to move it to the right units. The command also divested nearly 1 million pieces of equipment, unburdening units from having to maintain it, freeing up storage space and saving costs of sustainment.

The command is also investing in the Army's Organic Industrial Base -- arsenals, depots and ammunition plants, most established during World War II -- bringing the "20th century facilities into the 21st century," Daly said. The OIB manufactures and repairs equipment to support readiness today, while maintaining the capability to surge and ramp up in support of future wars.

"The bottom line is that we are leveraging the power of the OIB to drive and support readiness and modernization efforts," Daly said.

From cyber to sustaining legacy systems, industry representatives in the audience asked panelists how they could be a part of the solution. Panelist Erwin Bieber, President of BAE Systems' Platforms and Services Sector, said industry needs four things from the Army: clarity of requirements; predictability of funding; win-win opportunities with unconventional contracting strategies when needed; and deeper communications to stay connected.

"There's always a fine balance between what's organic and what's in industry and how we get that right mix," Bieber said. "We need to make sure we keep that in the right dimension as we move forward."

Other panelists included:

• Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, Army Sustainment Command commander, who discussed the organization of Army Field Support Brigades in support of divisions, and the new Logistics Civil Augmentation Program contract which will include support for setting theaters for large-scale operations;

• Maj. Gen. Dan Mitchell, Tank-automotive and Armaments Command commander, who focused on linking OIB workload to sustainable readiness, and investments in additive and advanced manufacturing at Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center; and

• Maj. Gen. Rodney Fogg, Combined Arms Support Command commander, who focused on changes to Army Field Manual 4-0, Sustainment Operations, to better define command and support relationships and the design of logistics organizations.

Retired Lt. Gen. James Pillsbury moderated the panel.