By Ms. Kimberly A. HansonFebruary 22, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- A panel of Army leaders and industry executives at the Association of the U.S. Army's Winter Symposium focused on sustaining the Industrial Base through partnerships, Feb. 21 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Emphasizing the need for a viable Industrial Base, John B. Nerger, executive deputy to the commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, opened the panel.
"One thing we know regardless of the budget predicament we find ourselves in…when Army forces are sent somewhere -- anywhere around the world -- to do the nation's bidding, everyone expects those forces to be properly trained, properly equipped, properly prepared," said Nerger. "They're expected to be ready, and that's what the Industrial Base is all about…readiness."
Army maintenance depots, manufacturing arsenals and ammunition plants lay at the heart of the Organic Industrial Base, said Nerger, comprising around 30,000 of AMC's 70,000-strong workforce. Through the Public Private Partnership (P3) program, master craftsmen and artisans who learned and honed their skills over generations work side-by-side with industry partners to manufacture, maintain and repair critical equipment needed by warfighters.
P3 is an agreement between an Army facility and one or more private industry entities to perform work or to use the Army's facilities and equipment. Through P3, companies can take advantage of the critical capabilities and skill sets developed over the past decade by the Army's Organic Industrial Base. By bringing in new opportunities and business for development, the Army can maintain support critical to the warfighter.
"We consider industry a full partner," Nerger said. "It's industry that's partnered with the Army to build and sustain combat power over the last 12 years; it's industry that's deployed with us on the battlefield, and employees have sacrificed with us...it's all of us working together in support of our joint warfighters."
While the program has existed for more than 16 years, it is growing in visibility and becoming a key strategy to sustain the industrial base.
What makes partnering attractive for industry is the Organic Industrial Base's unique facilities, including environmental permits, storage and testing sites, specialized and modernized equipment, and trained, experienced and adept workforce who in many cases are credentialed and certified, said Nerger.
"Our Industrial Base is indeed a national treasure for all of us -- government and industry alike," he said. "AMC and the larger acquisition community value and encourage Public Private Partnerships."
Citing current successful partnerships with Industrial Base facilities, the industry executives on the panel agreed that P3s are important and necessary.
"They [Public Private Partnerships] allow us to deliver to our warfighters the equipment they need, when they need it, at the most affordable price by leveraging the best of what industry and the Industrial Base has to offer," said panelist Gary Whited, senior vice president and general manager domestic programs, for General Dynamics Land Systems. "From the industry perspective…P3s work."
A successful partnership requires three key areas, according to Whited. First is a shared vision; it has to be about getting products and equipment to the warfighter. Second is mutual trust. Third is communication; the facility and industry have to develop open and honest communication with a clear understanding of expectations.
General Dynamics Land Systems is celebrating a 20-year partnership with Anniston Army Depot, having delivered, upgraded or reset more than 5,000 vehicles for the Army, said Whited. They currently employ more than 500 people on the depot and occupy almost 400,000 square feet of mixed-use facilities.
"We [General Dynamics] are an integral part of what goes on at the depot, and the depot is an integral part of what we do at General Dynamics," he said.
Commanding General for AMC's TACOM Life Cycle Management Command Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, also a panelist, said the importance of P3s across the spectrum of maintenance and manufacturing missions can't be overstated for his command.
"Partnering with industry helps the Army sustain its core capabilities, surge capacity, supplier base, facilities, and employee technical skill-sets," said Terry.
With more than 130 teaming efforts and revenues exceeding $100 million across TACOM's six arsenals and depots, Terry said they continue to seek additional opportunities to partner.
"We must continue these relationships so we remain relevant and ready to meet our nation's call when and where needed," he said.
AMC is working to establish quarterly meetings at different Industrial Base Centers of Industrial and Technical Excellence for industry and Army leaders to dialog and discuss opportunities, said Nerger, stressing the importance of continued open communication.
"It's in all of our best interest to maintain a viable Industrial Base," Nerger said. The Industrial Base is what allows our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines to succeed. It equips and sustains them, and ultimately saves lives.
For more information about the P3 program or how industry can partner with an AMC depot, arsenal, or ammunition plant, go to www.amc.army.mil/amc/partnershipopportunities.html or contact the AMC P3 program manager at 256-450-7128.