Huntsville, Ala. — Army Materiel Command’s top civilian leader gave a brief update to industry and military leaders on the status of the service’s plan to modernize the 23 arsenals, depots and ammunition plants that manufacture, reset and maintain Army equipment.
During a Warrior’s Corner at the Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Symposium, March 28, Marion Whicker, AMC’s executive deputy to the commanding general, said the Army remains on track to implement its 15-year modernization plan across the Organic Industrial Base.
“When we first looked at developing the OIB Modernization Implementation Plan, we said we’ve got World War II buildings that we need to modernize, but we knew we wanted to do more than that,” Whicker, who previously served as the lead for the OIB Modernization Task Force, said.
She highlighted the plan’s five priorities, saying they extend beyond facilities to ensure a holistic modernization effort. The OIB MIP is updating facilities for both enduring systems and the signature modernization efforts; tooling and processes; the workforce; network and cyber; and energy and the environment.
“Industry is always asking for where you can help. I am looking for smart solutions for how to retrain our workforce and what you think the 21st century workforce is going to look like,” Whicker said. “We have to make sure that the welder of today is ready to be the operator of our robotic welders – that they know how to calibrate, know how to operate, and know how to troubleshoot them.”
During the symposium’s opening keynote remarks, Undersecretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo said the service can deliver the Army of 2030 through consistency over time, including investing in the OIB, which he called a critical enabler for the Army.
“One benefit of that sustained investment, that consistency over time, is that it provides stability and predictability to the industrial base,” Camarillo said. “We’ve invested $1.5 billion, with Congress’s help in the (fiscal year) ‘24 budget and through supplements, in the Organic Industrial Base to modernize our facilities in support of critical munitions such as our ammo plants. This is part of a larger and broader 15-year, $18 billion strategy by the Army Materiel Command to modernize our depots, arsenals and our ammo plants.”
Whicker said the 15-year plan will be implemented in three phases: build the foundation for 21st century capability (FY ‘24-28); continue to build capabilities and attack vulnerabilities (FY ‘29-33); and maintain and sustain investments (FY ‘34-38).
“When I’m asked, why 15 years, why didn’t we do it in five? It’s because we have to continuously produce while we are modernizing these facilities,” Whicker said about how the OIB continues to meet current readiness requirements including U.S. support to Ukraine. “A year ago, we wouldn’t have been thinking about production the way we are now, but that is the great thing about this 15-year plan; it is flexible and scalable.”