REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - Understanding how the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command fits into the missile enterprise is an important lesson, and one many Soldiers and officers don't fully understand.
About 40 participants attended AMCOM 101 for Missiles March 5-6. The leadership and professional development forum is hosted annually by AMCOM to increase Army leaders' awareness of the tools and resources available to improve readiness in Army Missile units.
"When I was an aviation brigade commander, I thought I knew how our system worked," said AMCOM Commander Maj. Gen. Todd Royar. "I did not."
Before providing an overview, Royar recognized the group was on a high operational tempo.
"You are among the most deployed formation in the Army today," he said. "Much more so than in past years."
Given the fast pace, Royar said it was important to understand not only how AMCOM works, but who to call when questions arise.
Royar explained how AMCOM, a subordinate of the Army Materiel Command, works closely with AMC's other subordinate commands on the sustainment side of the house. AMCOM collaborates with the Tank-armaments and Automotive Command, the Communications Electronics Command and the Joint Munitions Command on readiness issues.
The Army's Training and Doctrine Command develops requirements.
"They are the ones who determine how far and how fast a system should go," Royar said. "AMCOM has input into that and we help write the sustainment concept. We get involved on Day One."
Likewise, when AMCOM is working with Army Futures Command Cross Functional Teams or Program Executive Office product managers, Royar assured the attendees that AMCOM is involved.
"We are writing language into the capabilities documents and determining how much intellectual property we need to be able to do sustainment work at our depots," he said.
Once a product moves into acquisition mode, Royar said logisticians within the PEOs - which fall under the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) - remain an essential part of the process. Those logisticians are "matrixed" or operationally tied back to AMCOM.
"This provides a single voice on the sustainment side of the house who talks to both of us," Royar said. "The process works well. We have great logisticians and relationships that allow us to put sustainment into the process."
Beyond that, AMCOM manages parts, and Royar explained how parts managers deal with vendors and ensure enough parts are on the shelf to maintain the Army's missile systems, down to the individual item.
In the field, AMCOM is represented by Logistics Assistance Representatives who interface with the force. Royar pledged a renewed emphasis to boost training opportunities to ensure LARs are more than "parts chasers."
"The better LAR we can give you, the better your readiness," Royar said.
AMCOM is also responsible for technical publications. The Army recently selected an AMCOM-developed electronic manual viewer as the service's single viewer for interactive technical manuals. Royar said the command is moving toward a mobile application that will make access and use even easier.
Royar also noted that AMCOM is responsible for all calibration in the Army, not just for aviation-and missile-related items. He emphasized calibration is a Soldier-safety item that has critical implications.
"We are sustainment, from cradle to grave," Royar said. "From parts at the wholesale level to demilitarization."
Attendee Maj. Caleb Love, with the 162nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas, called the AMCOM 101 program eye opening.
"There's a lot about the Army and missile enterprise I need to learn," Love said. Coming from the tactical side, Love said he was impressed to find how organizations and programs intermingled at higher echelons.
Along with Soldiers and civilians, two Marine officers also attended the program as they prepare to implement the High Mobility Rocket System (HIMARS) into an artillery regiment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
"While our task organization is different, this helps us know what questions to ask," said Marine Maj. Ryan Anness.
Each iteration of AMCOM 101 for Missiles has rendered positive feedback, said AMCOM's Chief Missile Maintenance Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Araceli Rial.
"Besides imparting important knowledge to those in the missile enterprise, the group interaction and dialogue provides us a real sense of what is happening in the field," Rial said. "This forum helps us understand what is working well and what challenges they face. That feedback from the field helps focus our efforts to improve missile readiness."