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The U.S. Army is undergoing its greatest transformation in more than 40 years, pursuing persistent modernization across force employment, force development, and force design. The 2021 Army Modernization Strategy (AMS), released in May, establishing the foundation for how we will develop a force ready for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) by Aim-Point 2035 to retain our position as the globally-dominant land power.

The strategy—reinforced in our Army Senior Leaders’ Posture Statement to Congress this year—recognizes that modernization is more than just weapon systems. It goes beyond materiel modernization—or what we fight with. It also addresses how we fight and who we are. As noted in the strategy, “This approach integrates the elements of doctrine, organizations, training, materiel, leader development and education, personnel, facilities, and policy (DOTMLPF-P) within the Army, with other joint force elements, and alongside allies and partners.”

Army sustainers and logisticians are absolutely critical across all efforts. We must modernize our infrastructure, training, processes, and skillsets to support next-generation capabilities. You must understand the strategy, your roles and responsibilities, and be a part of the change that will set conditions for success.

What we fight with: platforms to ensure overmatch

The Army's six materiel modernization priorities, and 31+4 signature efforts within them, remain constant. To keep pace on a battle-field that is increasingly faster, more lethal and more distributed, focus remains on Long Range Precision Fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicle, Future Vertical Lift, Army Network, Air and Missile Defense, and Soldier lethality.

Army Futures Command’s cross functional teams (CFT) bring together major stakeholders across requirements, acquisition, science and technology, testing, and logistics to field platforms that provide the joint force with speed, range, and convergence. Logisticians are embedded and must work closely with each CFT to ensure sustainment requirements are integrated early in the development phase. A system is only as good as our ability to field and sustain it on the battlefield. We must drive materiel integration in lockstep with planned weapon systems upgrades and synchronize with new and evolving modified tables of organization and equipment and Department of the Army decisions to ensure our ability to equip units keeps pace with the speed of change.

As we modernize what we fight with, we are also modernizing how we maintain those platforms. The Army Organic Industrial Base (OIB)—our 26 depots, arsenals, and ammunition plants—must have the capability and capacity to keep pace with Army modernization efforts and surge to support MDO at theater scale. The 15-year OIB Modernization Plan aligns with the AMS to incorporate emerging technology, increase breadth and depth, and eliminate single points of failure in the industrial base, while decreasing reliance on foreign suppliers.

How we fight: execute LSCO in MDO environment

The MDO concept, which is being rapidly integrated into doctrine, is the foundation for how we fight. The Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model (ReARMM), the Army’s modernization frame-work, is the force generation process providing modernized forces to achieve MDO. ReARMM aligns units regionally to meet current joint force demands while simultaneously implementing change through scheduled modernization and training windows.

Within ReARMM, modernization of the sustainment warfighting function—from sustainment practices and processes to capabilities and infrastructure—will ensure freedom of action, extend operational reach, and prolong endurance of Soldiers and units in the field. This effort starts on installations; our installations must be resilient to cyber or physical disruptions, modernized in support of the future force, and capable of supporting current and evolving readiness needs. The Facilities Investment Plan, which aligns with the Army Installation Strategy, provides a holistic approach to modernizing installation capabilities and infrastructure alongside the Army’s transformation. We are also targeting modernization of the complex network of roads, airfields, ports, railheads, sea and air strategic lift assets, and Army Prepositioned Stocks to rapidly project and sustain our forces forward. This key infrastructure must keep pace with the next-generation of weapon systems to maintain our strategic advantage.

Army sustainers are also leading the effort to divest outdated and excess equipment through the launch of Modernization Displacement and Repair Sites (MDRS). To date, units have divested more than 24,000 pieces of equipment at 13 MDRS locations, unburdening them of storage requirements for obsolete equipment and freeing up space for modernized equipment. While we have had great initial success, we have more work to do to ensure units trust the process, understand the risk if they don’t embrace the effort, and execute divestiture within their Unit Training Management process.

Nowhere is the use of big data analytics more critical than within the sustainment enterprise. To make predictive, real-time, and informed decisions based on global visibility of equipment and supplies, the Army is investing in agile and resilient networks and systems. We are streamlining Enterprise Business Systems, modernizing them to ensure cyber security, making the data at our fingertips more usable at echelon, and ensuring integration and interoperability while improving user interface and functionality.

Who we are: our relevance to the fight

The Army People Strategy sets the course for talent management and leader development to ensure a force prepared for the complexities of MDO. We are in a war for talent, and we will lose if we fail to modernize our processes and systems for recruiting and retaining the Army’s most important weapon system—our people.

But we will not fight the next war alone. As the AMS points out, we will win as a member of the joint force alongside allies and partners. To that end, the sustainment enterprise involvement in Project Convergence—not just in fiscal year 2021, but also 2022 and 2023 which addresses joint and multinational roles—is absolutely critical. We have been laying-in joint mission threads that are specific to sustainment so we can develop the capabilities needed for the future as we balance readiness today with modernization tomorrow.

The Army’s transformation and modernization simply cannot happen without the sustainment enterprise. The sustainment warfighting function capabilities are being considered at every phase as the Army prepares for 2035, and it will require the entire enterprise to approach modernization with diligence, persistence and innovation. Be part of the change!

People First! Winning Matters! Army Strong!

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Gen. Ed Daly serves as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. He served three years as the deputy commanding general of AMC in his previous assignment. He managed the day-to-day operations of the Army’s logistics enterprise, and also served as the senior commander of Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He served as the commanding general of Army Sustainment Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, and as AMC's deputy chief of staff, overseeing the roles and functions of the headquarters staff.

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This article was published in the July-Sept 2021 issue of Army Sustainment.

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