ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The need for planning and procedures that improve readiness and survivability of Soldiers cannot be overstated in the U.S. Army's larger mission of fighting and winning wars in any setting.

That fact is not lost on Gen. Gus Perna, commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and the Army's senior logistician, whose vision aims to ensure essential Class VIII medical supplies and equipment are always in "the right place at the right time" to support Army and Joint Forces operations.

"This is like bullets ... when you do not have bullets, you are not fighting a war," Perna said. "If you do not have medical supplies, you have people dying."

Perna provided guidance to Army Medical Logistics Command leaders during a quarterly update briefing on Nov. 6, 2019, held at Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) at Aberdeen Proving Ground in northeast Maryland.

The update was the command's second quarterly report to Perna - and first for Col. Michael B. Lalor, the AMLC's first commander - as a newly formed major subordinate command under the AMC.

The AMLC, borne out of an Army restructuring last year, was created to be the Army's primary medical logistics and sustainment command, responsible for managing the global supply chain and medical materiel readiness across the total force.

"We're starting to see ourselves better," Lalor said, pointing to efforts to address gaps and recommendations that resulted from recent exercises.

Lalor outlined his priorities for the AMLC, including Class VIII distribution integration and centralization of medical materiel, as well as optimization of medical maintenance.

Lalor talked about a recent training drill at Sierra Army Depot in which the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, a direct reporting unit of the AMLC, took part to assist in deploying a hospital center.

"The draw has gone well," Lalor reported and agreed with Perna that it's important to look for ways to make the process smoother and, ultimately, faster.

The general also emphasized a need for predictability and confidence that medical supplies will be readily available and mobile on demand. He said he wants depots and pre-positioned stocks "racked and stacked," so deploying units can get in and get out.

Transportation, logistics and sustainment operations all present valuable resources for the AMLC's developing mission and purpose, said Perna, who urged Lalor to work collaboratively with end-goals centered on improving overall force readiness.

"When we are combined," added Perna, "we can do better."