DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich — The United Kingdom was the first adversary of the United States, but in modern history they have become one of its closest allies. U.S. and U.K. forces have stood side-by-side in both World Wars and in many other conflicts since the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Both countries strive to maintain their military alliance through close cooperation. One of those opportunities presented itself when Chris Bushell, Director General Land for the U.K. Ministry of Defence, visited the Detroit Arsenal to meet with U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and their Detroit Arsenal partners to discuss business practices and organizational structure Apr. 13.
Bushell, who has only been in his current position for a little over a year, has similar responsibilities for the U.K’s Army forces as TACOM has for U.S. forces. He was interested in learning more about how the U.S. provides land vehicle procurement and support to its Soldiers, and provided an exchange of ideas on how the U.K. does business.
“Like you, we have some challenges with some of our systems,” Bushell said.
One of the main challenges for both countries when providing modernization efforts and fielding newer technologies is budget. Both countries must prioritize where to focus their spending to better take advantage of technologies to keep ahead of potential adversaries.
Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, Commanding General TACOM, spent the morning discussing some of the other challenges to the U.S. Army’s efforts to modernize.
Bushell was also interested in how effective TACOM has been in recruiting industry professionals.
“We are trying to bring in more talent to help with our modernization efforts,” said Brian Butler, Deputy to the Commander TACOM.
Butler admitted that there are challenges to bring in this talent mainly due to providing competitive pay versus what a corporation would be able to pay.
Both parties discussed the impact of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted operations.
“We’ve been able to keep [operations] going at the end of the day, which is a testament to the people,” Bushell said. “Productivity appears to be up, which could be attributed to less distractions at home and a reduction in commute time.”
Werner confirmed that the U.S. has seen similar results with telework capabilities.
Bushell also met with Andrew Dimarco, Deputy Program Executive Officer Combat Systems and Combat Support Systems, Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, Program Executive Officer Ground Combat Systems, Kevin McEnery, Deputy Director New Generation Combat Vehicle-Cross Functional Team at Army Futures Command, and Michael Cadieux, Director U.S. Army Combat Capabilities and Development Command’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center, and his team.
“We’re looking for areas where we can mutually benefit one another,” Bushnell said. “We want to find ways to figure things out and solve problems.”
To finish out his visit, Alfred Grein, Executive Director Research and Technology Integration U.S. Army Combat Capabilities and Development Command GVSC, took Bushell and his team on a tour of the GVSC facilities to include a look at semi-autonomous, robotic, and experimental vehicles, and work centers that are geared toward testing new vehicle designs for their durability.
“We’re trying to get to a point where we are confident in our [platform] designs so that we don’t have to continuously fire off rounds, that ends up costing a lot of money,” Bushell said.