REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - As the Army Materiel Command headquarters workforce gets ready for the new year, their top leader urged them to stay ready.

Gen. Gus Perna, Army Materiel Command commanding general, said the difference in being ready and reacting will be measured by the number of lives lost.

"My thoughts and prayers every day are for perpetual peace," said Perna. "But we don't pick the day. We must be ready when the call comes."

While speaking to the headquarters staff at a town hall Dec. 17, Perna highlighted the importance of understanding the Army's requirements and doing what it takes to reach them.

"We are driving to make sure what we own is ready to fight," said Perna. "Our responsibility is to ensure our Army's equipment is prepared as much as possible."

Perna addressed changes and new responsibilities within the command, emphasizing that Army Materiel Command is responsible for materiel readiness for the current force, as well as maintaining and sustaining future equipment.

"We are considered a premier command, and the Army needs and values what we do," said Perna.

Along with the responsibility of maintaining and sustaining equipment, Perna said Army Materiel Command is now managing the sustainment and installation budgets for the Army.

"We are working hard to ensure every dollar we receive is spent well for output," he said. "What we are finding is we are spending money where we do not have to."

Another big change is within the structure of Army Materiel Command. U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command is expected to move to Army Futures Command in early 2019. Perna said this move supports the missions of both Army Materiel Command and Army Futures Command. Meanwhile, Army Materiel Command assumed the Army's medical logistics function in October.

"This is huge and groundbreaking," Perna said. "We can now apply our expertise in supply and resupply across all classes of materiel."

In addition to changes with its major subordinate commands, Army Materiel Command is continuing to reshape the structure of its headquarters and workforces. Within the headquarters, Perna said redundant positions have been eliminated. Max Wyche, deputy chief of staff for personnel, G-1, said some positions are in the process of being reclassified. Perna said shaping to output will help the command remain relevant.

"When decisions come to me, it is not about me or about Army Materiel Command," he said. "It is about the Army. I came into command knowing we had to shape ourselves differently."

After a year of big changes, Perna thanked the headquarters workforce for their contributions to readiness.

"You do what other people can never do. There is a lot to be done, and you are the ones doing it," said Perna.

He said a highlight of his job is recognize someone for doing their job well. He recognized six employees for their contributions to readiness, including:

- Jill Mayes, G-2/6
- Sara Webb, G-1
- Kathy Gardner, Command Council
- Karen Smith, Inspector General
- Dave Shirley, G-3
- Nicole Blanks, Public & Congressional Affairs