ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Although Gen. Gus Perna, commander of U.S. Army Materiel Command, could not be present physically at U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command headquarters for his quarterly update briefing on April 14, 2020, his guidance and intent came through loud and clear.Perna kicked off the video teleconference by noting his admiration and appreciation for CECOM’s ability to pivot rapidly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in its programs and employees’ work environments. Despite these disruptions, CECOM stayed focused on its mission of empowering Soldiers with C5ISR readiness, anytime, anywhere.“What’s really impressive for the enterprise is we are maintaining momentum in all we’re doing,” he said. “That’s because of all the hard work we’ve already done to solve problems, set foundations and hold ourselves accountable.”Maj. Gen. Mitch Kilgo, CECOM commander, outlined the command’s major muscle movements since Perna’s last visit, including new initiatives to help combat COVID-19. These included working with Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical to create a 24-7 C5ISR help desk to support U.S. Army North and National Guard units deploying to fight the virus. They also included partnering with the Combat Capabilities Development Command, U.S. Army Medical Command, and the Tobyhanna Army Depot to identify sources and manufacture batteries for ventilators, among other efforts.“I’m confident the workforce is striking the right balance between duty to protect ourselves and duty to the mission,” Kilgo said.He also discussed progress in ongoing CECOM initiatives, such as creating a software readiness scorecard for units to ensure critical systems are up to date, as well as the command’s increasing use of repair cycle floats. These enable units to swap out C5ISR systems in need of overhaul and receive a new system immediately, rather than waiting for the original system to be repaired and shipped back to the unit.Briefers to Perna included Rear Adm. John Palmer, commander of the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio. Palmer and CECOM Integrated Logistics Support Center Director Liz Miranda outlined how DLA and ILSC work together to ensure critical parts for key C5ISR systems are continuously available for Soldiers.Specifically, they discussed the increasing use of 10-year, long-term contracts, which provide more stability for the supply chain. Palmer noted in addition to CECOM, such contracts are being used increasingly across other AMC major subordinate commands.Col. Scott Lamprides, CECOM G3, covered lessons learned from the recent DEFENDER-Europe 20 exercise. While the exercise was scaled back due to COVID-19, there was enough movement of forces to uncover valuable information about C5ISR system readiness in case of a return to large-scale combat operations in Europe. Lamprides said that in advance of future exercises, CECOM could better ensure its logistics assistance representatives are engaged with units that would be bringing C5ISR equipment with them.“DEFENDER isn’t going away,” Perna said. “I see it being a part of [operational tempo] for years to come. … It’s not just an event, it’s an assessment of ourselves.”Among other software topics, CECOM Software Engineering Center Director Jennifer Zbozny discussed the SEC’s partnership with the Defense Information Systems Agency to create a software repository website. The repository centralizes where units can download cybersecurity patches and system updates. Through the summer and fall, SEC will run a pilot program with the 101st Airborne Division to implement the system before making it available to the entire Army by mid-next year.Perna closed the briefing with praise for the command’s efforts, especially in light of COVID-19. “You can only be innovative, adaptive and agile once you’re good at what you’re supposed to be doing,” he said. “It doesn’t work the other way around. You have a good sense where you’re at and what you need to do for the next step. You’re bringing us into the Information Age with your DLA teammates.”