REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The Army's Organic Industrial Base stands prepared to adapt to unforeseen challenges to protect its workforce, and is on track to achieve modernization goals to ensure readiness for the future force. This was the message Army Materiel Command senior leaders shared during the 2021 OIB Commander's Summit held virtually May 18 and 19.
The Army's OIB consists of 26 depots, arsenals and ammunition plants, which manufactures and resets Army equipment, generating readiness and operational capability throughout Army formations. The summit offered an opportunity for commanders across the OIB to share information and collaborate with AMC leaders about current modernization efforts, including infrastructure and facility investments, data visualization systems and tools, environmental considerations, and OIB metrics.
The main objective and largest portion of the summit was to allow each OIB commander to brief AMC senior leaders on progress being made in their individual modernization strategies at their installations. These strategies are in support of AMC’s overarching OIB Modernization Strategy – a 15-year plan to incorporate emerging technologies into the OIB.
"To be relevant for the Army of 2035 and beyond the OIB must modernize now,” said AMC Commanding General Gen. Ed Daly. “So much of our facilities were built for World War II, when you walk through them you are seeing history. We can’t fix everything overnight, that’s why we’ve developed a 15 year modernization plan and we need you to help us understand what is most critical. Think about what are your requirements to surge and what are your core competencies."
OIB commanders laid out how their installations will allocate funding to improve different aspects of their facilities and production lines. This involves identifying, evaluating, implementing, and analyzing modernization tactics and technologies in order to create a plan that optimizes efficiency for the future.
As part of an example on identifying and implementing new technology, digital twin technologies used for recent naval shipyard optimization were highlighted. These digital twin systems offer ways to increase production capacity and efficiency by creating digital twin virtual simulation at every stage of development across the life cycle of an asset or system. The digital thread offers the capability to visualize data and metrics from manufacturing to production and floor plan management.
"Forums like this are so important because it is this action and planning that gets at progress,” Daly said.
The summit was chaired by AMC's Executive Deputy to the Commanding General, Lisha Adams, who noted the importance for commanders to network and share their experiences with one another.
"The reason we do these summits is to allow training support to you all,” Adams said. “Coming in as a commander to an OIB site is different than anything you've ever done in your career. You don't really understand until you're there on the ground doing it"
Adams shared advice on how commanders can be successful in the unique mission of leading an OIB. She emphasized the importance of the workforce, and made sure commander’s understood how crucial the people are to the mission.
“Our workforce is where the rubber meets the road,” Adams said. “You have to be able to challenge the status quo, and lead in the right direction to be viable and support Army readiness. Keep clear and consistent communication with your workforce, because they keep us going where we need to go."
The importance of the workforce was never more pertinent than this past year, as OIB responded to COVID 19, said Adams.
"All of our efforts at this summit are to help us understand how we can see ourselves, and be proactive instead of reactive,” she said. “So when things like COVID-19 cause havoc, we can have the right practices and protocols to respond appropriately. During COVID we did not stop -- we remained open and we protected our workforce."
Daly echoed the same sentiment, including the importance of hiring a skilled and talented workforce throughout the OIB.
“People are our foundation,” he said. “They are our core expertise and we have to fight for talent to make sure we are hiring, developing training and retaining that talent.