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Top logistics leader: Readiness requires big actions

Gen. Gus Perna, Army Materiel Command commander and the Army's senior logistician, delivers a materiel update at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium and Exposition March 13 in Huntsville, Alabama.

With straight talk, the Army’s senior logistician challenged industry partners and his own workforce to help meet the demands of Army readiness.

Delivering the Army Materiel Command Update at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium and Exposition March 13, Gen. Gus Perna described the challenges of a next war and warned of the potential atrocities that could hamper equipment delivery to a forward location.

“Frankly, the challenges of tomorrow are nothing like we had yesterday,” he said.

From a sunk ship to a disabled train, Perna noted the result could wipe out an entire brigade combat team’s worth of equipment.

“Are we ready to react to that?” Perna wondered aloud if today’s military has the acquisition system, training and know-how to face such a challenge. “Are we seeing ourselves and preparing to execute in a multi-domain environment?”

The Army is working toward that end, Perna said. For its part, he said the Army Materiel Command is doing its best to execute the mission.

“We need to ensure that 100 percent of our workforce is executing 100 percent of the work,” he said. “We don’t have time; we must have everybody engaged.”

Perna challenged industry partners to be more judicious in filing contract protests and pledged adherence to the highest standards on the Army’s end.

“We need to increase speed and accuracy as we develop our requirements, then hold ourselves accountable to milestones and execution of the contracting process,” Perna said. “We’re taking that on. We are going to hold our workforce accountable to that end state.”

While the Army’s top leaders are focusing on readiness, modernization and challenging the status quo, Perna identified immediate actions the Army Materiel Command is undertaking to enhance readiness.

Redistributing on-hand equipment is a top priority, Perna said. With 980,000 pieces of the right equipment in the wrong place, the Army Materiel Command is reallocating the items where they are needed most. At the same time, the command is divesting 1.3 million pieces of equipment that are no longer needed.

Keeping the soldier confident in the Army’s equipment means ensuring supply availability so that repair parts are where they need to be, whether for training or on the battlefield.

“We need to restructure our demand process and change the algorithm to meet future demand, not react to past demand,” he said.

As Congress looks for ways to cut costs, Perna said he must be able to articulate how the Organic Industrial Base is connected to the Sustainable Readiness Model.

Ensuring Army Prepositioned Stocks are properly configured for combat, maintaining science and technology capabilities and ensuring foreign military sales enable partner capabilities are also key to providing readiness, Perna said.
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