By Mr. Kelly C. Luster (CECOM)December 3, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Gen. Dennis L. Via, Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command, visited several major supporting commands here, Friday.
Aberdeen Proving Ground is home to 11 major commands and supports more than 90 tenants, 20 satellite and 17 private activities. The installation provides facilities to perform research, development, testing and evaluation of Army materiel. Facilities include laboratories for research investigations, state-of-the-art ranges, engineering test courses for wheeled and tracked vehicles and a wide variety of research. The installation also supports a wide variety of training, including mechanical maintenance, health promotion and preventive medicine, chemical and biological defense, and chemical casualty care, chemical demilitarization. APG also is host National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve operations and training.
Via said he plans to visit all of his major commands' posts, depots and activities. In doing so, he has spent a great deal of time traveling during the first 100 days of his command. Via said he is impressed with what he has seen so far and credits the people of AMC.
"AMC is not the same organization it was 10 years ago," said Via. "We have organizations today that didn't exist in 2006. I would dare to say we won't be the same organization in 2015 or 2020. That includes CMA, CECOM, RDECOM, even the Garrison here. Things are changing here."
During the visit Gen. Via toured several unique facilities including laboratories like the Joint On-demand Interoperability Network (JOIN). The JOIN provides a distributed test environment for combatant commands, military services, inter-agency, multi-national and coalition partners. It allows these groups to collaborate and forge new avenues for joint interoperability communications to meet the demands of the future operational environment, according to John Kahler, JOIN Chief.
Via said he remembered the JOIN from its former location at Fort Monmouth, N.J. and was impressed with the improvements that occurred with the move to Aberdeen Proving Ground and the construction of the new facility.
Via capped the day with a Town Hall Meeting at the installation theater at which he discussed the way ahead for AMC discussing the organization's priorities, challenges, and opportunities. Via said AMC's top priority must be support to the Joint Warfighter. Among his other priorities were setting conditions successful transition to sustainment.
Via said, "We can't wait until it happens. We must set the conditions now, even while we continue to support combat operations. It's no different than setting the conditions for successful BRAC relocations while we're still supporting the wars." CECOM had what has been lauded as one of the most successful BRAC moves in the entire Department of Defense with nearly 70 percent of the personnel relocating from Fort Monmouth, N.J., to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Among what Via thought were challenges on the horizon for AMC and her major subordinate commands were the next contingency operation and resetting the Army after 11 years of sustained combat operations.
"We have to make sure we are resetting the right equipment for the next contingency, for the next mission…" said Via. "…that we are getting it [equipment] to the arsenals and depots and back to the units so they can regenerate combat readiness to be prepared to deploy for whatever comes next."
But along with the challenges Via said he always sees the silver lining and tremendous opportunities. One of the key opportunities he said AMC has is the trust the command has built with the Warfighter over the years.
"The Warfighter knows what we'll deliver," said Via. He said the AMC patch is well recognized on the battlefield. People know they can count on AMC to deliver. "AMC is an operationalized command now. We're down at the installation level--down in brigade combat teams and at the company level. We have a capability we didn't have before."
Ending as he began his presentation, Gen. Via said, "Thank you. You are part of a winning team. There is nowhere at which that is more demonstrated than right here at Aberdeen Proving Ground."