By Joe Lacdan, Army News ServiceNovember 7, 2018
FORT MEADE, Md. -- Autonomous vehicles and brigade combat teams that will be able to sustain themselves for a week in the field were among initiatives outlined by the Army's G-4, Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, Nov. 6.
Piggee, the Army's deputy chief of staff for logistics, spoke at the Association of the United States Army's Institute of Land Warfare breakfast in Arlington, Virginia.
As the Army looks to increasingly modernize its force and become more mobile, Piggee said a handful of initiatives will have the most impact in upgrading logistics for future combat operations.
Increasing the brigade combat teams' ability to sustain themselves without a resupply could be a significant cost-effective measure, he said. In order to meet that goal, upgrades to vehicles must be made, and a 30 percent improvement in fuel consumption will be needed.
"The way we operate our equipment will matter too," Piggee said. "We must change the culture to operate more efficiently."
Last spring, Army Materiel Command announced the establishment of the Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Rock Island, Illinois. The general said the service could take advantage of 3D printing technology in the field to produce repair parts instead of manufacturing them thousands of miles away. He said AMC is currently in the process of finalizing the capability and working to see how to certify necessary parts.
"I see this as a game-changer tactically and within the organic industrial base," Piggee said. "If our arsenals can make a part a unit needs and fill the order faster than a vendor, why not make it in-house with this new technology of today?"
GLOBAL SUPPLY VISIBILITY
In late 2017, the service finished fielding the Global Combat Support System-Army, a system which gives the Army a common operating picture from the tactical to the strategic level. The GCSS-Army has been instrumental in integrating AMC's operations by providing a single database with near-real-time information for supply, accountability, maintenance and finance.
"We can see ourselves in near-real time," the general said. "But we have to make sure we are using all this data that we're pumping out to make good decisions."
Condition Based Maintenance-Plus, a pilot program for Interim Armored Vehicle Strykers, remains under development. Planners designed the system so commanders can coordinate maintenance around operations and training schedules.
The Army has created an artificial intelligence task force to study how AI can be implemented in the service's ongoing modernization efforts.
Soon, Army leaders hope to have the use of autonomous ground and aerial vehicles to help conduct resupply to deployed units.
Aside from autonomy, Piggee said the Army must also upgrade its distribution system to meet 21st century needs. Army logisticians are currently working on ways to upgrade the system and improve how uniforms and equipment are distributed to Soldiers. This will facilitate rapid and efficient equipping of Soldiers.
"Our intent is to make it faster and easier for Soldiers, make it a more personalized experience, and less expensive for the Army," Piggee said.