By Elizabeth BehringDecember 17, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Army Materiel Command zeroed in on readiness and reform during 2018, as it welcomed the Secretary of the Army to its headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, realigned with the Shape the Fight initiative and reorganized mission sets as Army Futures Command stood up.
It was a year of change as AMC built on its reputation as the Army's materiel leader in sustainment and logistics. Part of AMC's commitment to the Total Force is the ability to adapt during times of increasing change and ever-increasing threats across the Army as a whole.
AMC's internal initiative, Shape the Fight, reorganized certain staff functions to better synchronize, integrate and deliver materiel readiness, which is in line with the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff's priorities and ongoing reform efforts. The program also aims to align the workforce with the right functions and work to ensure effective and timely support to the warfighter, said Gen. Gus Perna, AMC's commanding general.
Some changes under Shape the Fight include combining the offices of the Command Surgeon, Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Leadership, Retention and Training under G-1; merging G-2 and G-6 functions with an innovative concept that threads cyber through security and intelligence functions; and realigning or removing functions from the G-3 that are not related to operations.
"Our collective goal must be to have 100 percent of the people doing 100 percent of the right work across our enterprise," Perna said.
AMC's senior civilian is leading an additional program to ensure employees are prepared to serve at their highest potential and in support of the Army's number one mission of readiness.
Lisha Adams, executive deputy to the commanding general, said the Ready Army Civilian initiative includes providing employees tools needed to do their jobs; coaching and mentoring them to set standards for performance; and encouraging civilians to be proud of the accomplishments they make every day in support of the warfighter.
"Just as our Soldiers must be ready to fight tonight, our civilian employees must be ready at all times to support the fight," Adams said. "As we move into the future, we need to maintain a high level of readiness through providing the best technology, equipment, acquisition, logistics and sustainment support. As civilians, we are at the tip of the spear to ensure readiness for our Soldiers."
During his Jan. 24 visit to Redstone Arsenal, Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper called for continued focus amidst looming budget uncertainty. In turn, Esper said he and other Army leaders are doing everything they can to get the message out about the need for a sustained, predictable and increased budget. He commended AMC as leaders in providing support to the warfighter.
"I hear about your responsiveness to supporting units. They are singing your praises, unprompted," Esper told Perna and a gathering of the organization's top staff.
Esper also noted the military is transitioning from current wars to prepare to face a near-peer adversary. Part of that change was the official announcement during March's Global Force Symposium in Huntsville that a fourth Army Command would stand up by summer's end.
Army Futures Command, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is intended to streamline and modernize key Army operations, driving the force into the future to achieve clear overmatch in future conflicts. To accomplish this, elements from each of the major commands will transition to Futures Command, including AMC's Research, Development and Engineering Command; and U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity.
While changes will shape the future of AMC, the command's responsibility to securing readiness is unwavering. In April, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics visited the 401st Army Field Support Brigade in Kuwait. Ellen M. Lord toured an Army Prepositioned Stocks-5 warehouse and spoke with leadership there about how the brigade increases readiness throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. They also discussed ways APS-5 equipment readiness is increasing as it is transitioned from Care of Supplies in Storage to combat configured, and how modernization of the APS program may increase future readiness.
"We're making sure that we're maximizing the efforts of our men and women in uniform to give us readiness not only to fight as the United States but also with our coalition partners here," Lord said.
Perna hosted the first of two AMC Commanders Forums in February, where he called on commanders and senior civilians from across the materiel enterprise to reflect on lessons learned during 17 years of war, and to re-focus their efforts on readiness and the future.
"AMC's responsibility is to set the theaters, and we are tasked to increase materiel readiness -- whether it's building the Army with equipment, improving our supply availability, reducing backorders or talent management - we are totally responsible for increasing materiel readiness," Perna said.
"That doesn't just mean to maintain a narrow focus on what's happening in an individual depot or laboratory, or in an office cubicle. It also cannot be about the performance objective of one individual or the personality of one commanding general - it's got to be the totality of this organization thriving to improve materiel readiness. Nobody else does this for the Army, and if we're not doing it, we don't need to exist," Perna said.
Reform and change were the primary topics during AMC's second Commanders Forum of the year, held in October, as news the Research, Development and Engineering Command will transition to AFC in a phased approach, expected to be final in fiscal 2019. In addition, the Army directed the reassignment of the Medical Research and Materiel Command to AMC, effective Oct. 1.
"We are getting a lot done - and it is being talked about - but we have a lot more to do. The total Army must be ready to train for war and go to war. There is no greater requirement," Perna told leadership teams from 10 subordinate commands in the headquarters' newly constructed Executive Operations Center.
On Feb. 15, Perna, Alabama's highest-ranking military officer, addressed attendees of a Legislative Joint Session honoring Alabama's service members, veterans and Department of Defense Civilians in Montgomery, noting more than 51,000 people in the state either currently serve or work for the military, and state officials recognize that sacrifice. Gov. Kay Ivey then declared that date "Military Appreciation Day" in Alabama.
"These people, your DNA, were raised, educated and brought up - physically fit, mentally fit, morally fit - to think bigger than themselves, bigger than their families, and they went into harm's way. That is why I stand here today and represent our total military for Military Appreciation Day," Perna said.
"Our senior leaders are dedicated to our forces, to our men and women, and making sure that we are always ready to do what we need to do," Perna said.
Modernizing the Army's Organic Industrial Base for maximum optimization was the theme of the House Military Depot and Industrial Facilities Caucus in Washington, D.C., June 7. The annual meeting, which encourages frank discussion between AMC leaders and Congressional members about the Army's priorities in sustaining readiness for the total force, is held to educate other members of Congress on matters of importance to the military depot and industrial facility community. It also serves as an advocate for policy changes.
Following farewell concerts during the Huntsville/Madison County Armed Forces Celebration Week, in which AMC played a key role, the AMC Band cased its colors June 29, marking its official inactivation.
"We can case the colors, but your legacy will remain," said Maj. Gen. Allan Elliott, AMC chief of staff, during the ceremony. "It will live on in the memories and hearts of everyone who has been touched by the sounds and feelings that made the 389th Army Band one of the best in the country," Elliott said.
The AMC Band relocated to Redstone Arsenal from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in 2011, and performed more than 2,700 times at more than 60 locations around the globe in support of the AMC enterprise, the Redstone Garrison and military and civilian functions. Formed as the 389th Army Band at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, in 1944, it was designated the Army Materiel Command Band in 2006.
During an Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting Sustaining the Force panel Oct. 9, Perna said the ability to give a maneuver commander what they need when they need it is a true task of Army logisticians.
"This is the art and science of logistics that we must apply," Perna said. "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 readiness areas: materiel; munitions; industrial base; power projection; and enterprise Resource Planning.
"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. Simultaneously, AMC laterally transferred nearly 600,000 pieces of equipment to move it to the right units, and it divested nearly 1 million pieces of equipment.
"The bottom line is that we are leveraging the power of the OIB to drive and support readiness and modernization efforts," Daly said.
Those efforts are directly linked to the Army mission of defending the nation's interests, both at home and abroad.
"The world is rotating faster than it was yesterday - faster than it was two months ago," Perna told leadership teams from 10 subordinate commands. "For us, the focus must always be on mission."