By Devon L. Suits, Army News ServiceJune 3, 2019
WASHINGTON -- The Army needs industry's help to take better advantage of today's technology, said Lt. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee, Army G-4, at a recent Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare Hot Topic symposium.
Over the past 50 years, industry has surpassed the military in technology advancement and capability, Piggee said. In turn, the Army continues to use outdated logistical processes to maintain some of its top technology.
For example, the Army inspector general recently found outdated software on several maintenance support devices, Piggee said. To update each device, the Army has to send out a CD-ROM, a form of outdated technology, and hope that it makes it to the right people who have the proper authority to update the system.
"I have an iPhone," he said. "Last week, I got a text saying that the latest iOS update was available. If I don't update my phone in a week, someone will come knocking on my door."
Overall, there is an office that has complete visibility over every phone in the government. And yet, the Army has no visibility when it comes to performing routine maintenance on a critical piece of equipment, Piggee said to emphasize his point.
"That's not taking advantage of today's technology today," he said. "How do we get past today and to a point where we're looking at 2028 and beyond? It starts with industry."
Moving forward, the Army's future sustainment capabilities need to be agile, resilient, and efficient, to ensure the Army's ability to fight and win against a near-peer competitor.
"The elements of the operational environment are converging, and technological innovation is occurring at unprecedented speed, nothing like we've seen in recent history," Piggee said. "The way our forces operate alongside our allies and partners in the future will be radically different than what we've experienced in the past."
Further, the Army is also looking into the use of autonomous systems in support of sustainment operations.
"We can load up our supplies … [and] an autonomous system would get them to their destination," he said. "We can keep our soldiers out of harm's way. Without soldiers on board, vehicles require less armor, which means increased capacity, better fuel efficiency, and faster and more agile delivery."
Bottom line -- Army logisticians, from the strategic to the tactical levels, will need to be ready, Piggee emphasized. Further, the scale, pace, and duration that will be required to sustain the future battlefield will surpass anything the Army has seen before.
To meet this future need, Army doctrine will need to evolve to provide combatant commanders with options, ensuring the Army's prolonged endurance within an operational environment.
"With the publication of '[Army Field Manual] 3.0, Operations'… the Army has moved from its contingent counter insurgency focus to large scale ground combat operations. The sustainment community has also changed to meet this new focus," he said.
Over the past year, sustainment officials have aided in the development of Army Field Manual 4.0., Operations. Once the Army finalizes the new field manual, it should include three additional elements of sustainment: "financial management, personnel services, and health services support on the battlefield." Piggee said.