The Michigan chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association held its annual Michigan Defense expo May 20-21.
Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic, the expo planners could not hold the conference in person, so they adapted it to a virtual format.
During this inaugural virtual expo, Tank-automotive and Armaments Command’s Deputy to the Commander, Brian Butler, took part and explained the current situation with the pandemic and discussed the importance of cooperation in accomplishing TACOM’s mission.
“To make sure that the Army is ready to defend our nation takes the government and industry working together,” said Butler.
According to Butler, predictable and consistent funding from Congress to maintain operational readiness, build strategic readiness, and modernize the force.
“For the Army to win, it needs the support of the entire industrial base,” he said.
Additionally, Butler said that sustainment has been one of the biggest challenges over the past five years as TACOM has regenerated the industrial base and attempted to tackle obsolescence problems.
Obsolescence has created some issues when looking at the resupply of repair parts.
“We have regular engagements with our partners and peers to deal with obsolescence issues,” Butler said.
Later in the conference, directors from the Integrated Logistics Support Center also discussed the importance of obsolescence in their supply chain management mission.
According to Mark Colley, Director of Combat Support and Combat Service Support Readiness and Sustainment Directorate in the ILSC, procurement obsolescence is more of a priority than tactical obsolescence. Procurement obsolescence is when industry is not producing enough of the product to fulfill the requirement for an item.
“We will struggle with obsolescence in some form on virtually every one of our platforms, even new ones where we’ll have issues that we have to address,” Colley said.
Some obsolescence issues have included larger systems including the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, M1A2 Abrams Tank, and the Apache helicopter, as well as small projects like tool boxes and conex boxes.
TACOM is also looking at improving repair part forecasting to help alleviate the supply demands that arise for those systems.