REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. –
Leaders from throughout the Aviation and Missile Command gathered April 7 to provide an update to Army Materiel Command’s Commander Gen. Charles Hamilton.
AMC major subordinate command updates occur quarterly to inform the commander about ongoing initiatives and priorities, as well as to seek his guidance and assistance. This marked the first MSC update Hamilton received from AMCOM leaders since he took command last month. It was also the first update since AMCOM commander Maj. Gen. Tom O’Connor took command in August.
Modernization, funding, readiness and talent management were among the main topics discussed by each of the leaders throughout the command.
Prior to the update, Hamilton and O’Connor recognized and presented awards to Ombudsman Terri Schwierling, Missile Director Tara Bell, Chief of the Applied Physics Standards Lab Greg Boggs, Advanced Manufacturing Lead Andrea Benson and Chief of Data and Analytics Lisa Hirschler. They also recognized the Corpus Christi Army Depot UH-60V team and the Letterkenny Army Depot Patriot team.
O’Connor spoke about the impacts the AMCOM workforce has made across the force with respect to improving readiness and enabling warfighters to have the materiel and systems in place where they need it, when they need it. He highlighted the AMCOM campaign plan, which is nested with the AMC initiatives and efforts. He then turned the floor over to members of the AMCOM team to dive deeper into some of those initiatives.
AMCOM G-4 Craig Northridge provided an overview of the current status of the Organic Industrial Base modernization efforts across AMC.
“We have integrated, linked and backward planned all of the projects – whether it is facilities, equipment, technology, human capital, IT, etc. – in order to meet mission requirements,” he said. “We are happy that it has resonated with everyone involved because we don’t want someone to make a decision on one small part that affects the larger piece.”
Northridge said they are incorporating initiatives from the Army Climate Strategy Implementation Plan within their current modernization processes to reduce energy. Introduced in October by Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, the plan directs how the Army will maintain its strategic advantage through deliberate efforts to reduce future climate impacts and risks.
Northridge highlighted the emergency generators at both depots, which have moved from reliance on diesel to natural gas to reduce emissions and the electric vehicle charging stations that are installed in all projects. He described facility modernization phases ongoing at both Corpus Christi and Letterkenny, as well as barracks projects at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which he described as more challenging, but also more impactful to the Army and AMC.
Hamilton asked how the OIB modernization plan compared to those within industry, to ensure the initiatives were in line.
Northridge said his team is using the Army structure of planning – demand first, facilities, infrastructure – which is common to what would also happen in industry. He said within the operational arena, the AMCOM Logistics Center has been doing a lot of industry baselining to ensure the facility layout is logical when it comes to equipment and process flow.
Corpus Christi Deputy Commander Rod Benson spoke about efficiencies and accuracy within the depot’s processes, additive manufacturing and toxic metal reduction. He said Corpus Christi is working closely with the Department of Defense, as well as industry partners to reduce carcinogenic materials and eradicate heavy metals.
In addition to OIB modernization, the key message from the AMCOM subordinate elements was people first and how nothing is possible without a dedicated workforce across the command.
“Without good people and good talent, our projects and investments will not achieve the realization that they are expected to do,” Benson said. “We are trying to attract and retain a multi-generational workforce.”
He highlighted partnerships with academia and craft training centers. Students are invited to tour the depot and Corpus Christi is assisting with the curriculum being taught in classrooms.
Letterkenny Commander Col. Rick Allbritton discussed modernization lines of effort, specifically highlighting equipment, facilities and talent management. Both Allbritton and Benson were adamant that without workload predictability, talent management would continue to be difficult at both depots.
“Workload predictability would probably solve about 90% of our problems,” Allbritton said.
Hamilton said he thinks it is solvable and there are ways to influence predictability because there is plenty of work to do. He will take that back and work on it.
Col. Matt Parker, commander of the Aviation Center Logistics Command at Fort Novosel, provided a snapshot of the ACLC workload and mission and reiterated the struggle of a predictable workload to retain a talented staff. He said requirements are quickly outpacing the workforce at the five locations under the ACLC umbrella.
AMCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Bradford Smith noted the more than 1,000 AMCOM vacancies worldwide and how he is working with the G-1 to ensure those vacancies are advertised not only through traditional channels but also at hiring events and installation Transition Assistance Programs worldwide.
Brian Wood, the executive director of ALC, discussed the recently streamlined supply chain optimization process. AMC’s supply chain optimization effort launched in October 2021. It went live January 30 and ALC reached full operational capacity in March. He said prior to the effort, the AMCOM functions were all stove-piped in different directorates with similar operational missions, such as supply planning for aviation, supply planning for missiles, demand planning for aviation and demand planning for missiles. Now those individuals are under the supply chain optimization directorate.
“That has helped us standardize how we do business, regardless of the commodity,” Wood said.
In line with the people first initiative, Wood spoke about workforce training and improvements to internal and external communication within the ALC and with industry partners.
David Hargett, acting director of the Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Activity, gave a brief overview of the USATA mission. He said USATA manages the calibration mission for the Army, providing support for more than 850,000 items across the globe in 27 states and seven countries. USATA is in the final stages of developing a wage-grade fellows program with Department of the Army funding. Regarding future efforts, his team is looking at how to best support TMDE in contested logistics environments to support the Soldiers at the point of need.
The final briefing came from James Snyder, AMCOM G-3M division chief, who gave a predictive logistics overview.
“Army aviation has been conducting predictive logistics for 20 years, so we have a very robust data set for both maintenance and operations data,” Snyder said. “We are able to use that data and turn it into information and we are able to do a health assessment of an individual tail number aircraft, so we can target our sustainment efforts for the best use of those resources.”
Snyder demonstrated a tool that allows the aircraft to be viewed individually and how it stacks against the entirety of the fleet. Hamilton said it is a great tool and AMCOM is leading the way for the future.
Hamilton said he appreciates the updates, and he looks forward to future deep dives into the topics discussed, particularly civilian recruitment, the supply chain, and modernization efforts.