By Kelly A. DeWittMarch 11, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (March 11, 2013) -- The commander of Army Materiel Command met with Congressional leaders and staff members, Feb. 27, on Capitol Hill, to discuss the Army's organic industrial base and national military readiness.
Gen. Dennis L. Via spoke at a House Depot Caucus Breakfast, addressing the critical nature of the defense manufacturing capabilities and skilled workforce, which includes AMC's depots, arsenals and ammunition plants. Many of the facilities provide one-of-a-kind maintenance or production capabilities.
Via's remarks to law makers focused on four areas: AMC's industrial base is a national treasure; AMC delivers readiness for the joint warfighter; AMC continues to support combat operations while simultaneously transitioning to sustainment operations; and serious challenges lie ahead with budget funding uncertainties while under Continuing Resolution constraints, made even more so with sequestration.
"Our industrial base facilities are truly our national treasures, providing key capabilities in support of our defense mission today, while preparing for the threats of tomorrow," Via told the group, which included Co-Chairmen of the House Military Depot and Industrial Facilities Caucus, Representative Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Representative Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa). "Their mission is enduring."
Retaining the critical maintenance and manufacturing skills and capabilities to meet Army enduring needs, while providing flexibility for future requirements, is essential, Via said.
"Our Industrial Bases are a critical enabler to our nation, and an economic engine for our local communities," he said. "For every $1 AMC invests in these facilities, there is a $1.83 return."
The current budget uncertainty will reduce the workload at the organic industrial base facilities, Via told the members.
"The workload decrease results in a reduction of an estimated 5,000 temporary, term, and contractor employees. The Continuing Resolution and sequestration compounds our workforce challenges by accelerating execution of our multi-year plan into the year of execution, making it impossible to re-balance in a responsible manner," he said.
"Sequestration has an immediate impact on partnerships with industry, specifically prime contractors and their sub-vendors will be impacted through reduced purchases of spare parts and technical services," Via added. "Once the supply chain is disrupted, the recovery period is estimated to be one to three years. Reductions will have a ripple effect in fiscal years 2014 to 2018 and beyond."
AMC has been directed to curtail depot maintenance for the third and fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013. The most immediate impact, Via said, will be seen at Army post's combat equipment repair and reset of redeploying divisions' equipment.
"This is best depicted when an Army combat unit has to 'move, shoot, and communicate,'" he said. "You need vehicles and other platforms to move -- potentially 1,000 wheeled vehicles will not be reset. You need weapons systems to shoot -- potentially 17,000 weapons will not be reset, and you need communications venues like radios to maintain command control -- potentially 14,000 radios will not be reset."
At the conclusion of his briefing, Via addressed areas where AMC could use Congress' support.
"I appreciate all that Congress is doing and has done," he said.
He asked for support in the following areas:
• continuing to help preserve the capabilities of our organic industrial base
• providing timely appropriations -- timely and steady funding that continues three years after the last piece of equipment departs the Central Command theater of operation
• supporting AMC's new business model, to recognize 'carry over' as an important tool in forecasting and planning future workload
• continuing support of AMC's Public-Private Partnership efforts
"Continue to visit any of our facilities and workforce at any time," he told them. "You will be surprised by all that we do. Our organic industrial base is a national treasure. The Army is its caretaker which delivers readiness for our nation."
Other Members of Congress in attendance were Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Cherri Bustos (D-Ill.), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Austin Scot (R-Ga.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Paul Cook (R-Calif.), and Matt Cartwright (R-Penn).
In advance of the breakfast, Via took the opportunity to directly engage congressional members during several office calls. He met with Senate and House representatives to discuss a range of topics, including budgetary impacts, the status of the organic industrial base, reset and retrograde from Afghanistan, and carry over.
AMC major subordinate command leaders who will also visit Capitol Hill in the coming weeks include Brig. Gen. Kevin O'Connell, Joint Munitions Command/Joint Munitions and Lethality Lifecycle Management Command; and Maj. Gen. Del Turner, U.S. Army Security and Assistance Command. Visits have recently been conducted by Maj. Gen. Lynn Collyar, Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, Maj. Gen. Michael Terry, TACOM,; and Brig. Gen. John F. Wharton, Army Sustainment Command.
For more information on AMC, visit www.amc.army.mil.
AMC Organic Industrial Base sites
AMC Government Owned/ Government Operated Sites:
Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.
Watervliet Arsenal, N.Y.
Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark.
Tobyhanna Army Depot, Penn.
Letterkenny Army Depot, Penn.
Anniston Army Depot, Ala.
Red River Army Depot, Texas
Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas
Sierra Army Depot, Calif.
Bluegrass Army Depot, Ky.
Tooele Army Depot, Utah
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Okla.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity, Ind.
AMC Government Owned/ Contractor Operated Sites:
Hawthorne Army Depot, Nev.
Lima Army Tank Plant, Ohio
Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Iowa
Holston Army Ammunition Plant, Tenn.
Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Va.
Milan Army Ammunition Plant, Tenn.
Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, Mo.
Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, Penn.