CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. –
The 38th Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Randy A. George, visited Letterkenny Army Depot April 14 for a tour and discussion about the Army’s Organic Industrial Base.
LEAD, a subordinate of U.S. Army Materiel Command and U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, is part of the Army’s OIB that consists of 23 arsenals, depots and ammunition plants which manufacture and sustain Army equipment to ensure current and future readiness.
George met with Maj. Gen. Tom O’Connor, AMCOM commander, Col. Ricky L. Allbritton, LEAD commander, and Todd E. Black, LEAD deputy to the commander, to discuss LEAD’s support to Army modernization and AMC’s 15-year OIB Modernization Implementation Plan.
O’Connor highlighted the importance of LEAD and the vital role that depots play in supporting Army modernization efforts.
“Our nation relies on the depots,” he said. “Investment in the capabilities of our depots to provide alternate sources of repair will mitigate risks to the supply chain. Our depots and arsenals are providing the nation with strategic readiness and the strategic depth across our defense industrial base.”
LEAD’s core expertise is in air and missile defense, and long-range precision fire systems. Allbritton gave George a glimpse into the depot’s strategic depth in supporting over 150 major end items.
“The organic industrial base is unique in that we staff to requirements, but we equip to meet surge,” said Kate Williams, director of the Office of Strategic Management. “Letterkenny’s mission is two-fold; we meet current sustainment requirements but in equal measure, our charter is to preserve competencies to maintain that surge capability.”
Walking through the depot’s ground support production facility, George observed advancements in manufacturing and fabrication, additive manufacturing and testing capabilities.
“As we work to modernize, Letterkenny understands that it’s not just about the buildings, but the equipment and people you put in them,” Williams said.
The depot’s extensive work with sustaining the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and Extended Range Cannon Artillery systems showcases the importance that the industrial base plays in Army readiness and the extension of Army buying power. Through modernization efforts and technology integration, LEAD has produced over $800,000 in cost savings for the HIMARS program through advanced manufacturing corrosion mitigation and a cost reduction of over $20,000 through fabrication advancements in the ERCA program.
“You are to be commended for your efforts in cost avoidance,” George stated. “Rarely do you get credit, but what you’re doing here is building readiness.”
During a tour of the depot’s Lightner Missile Complex, George was briefed on the depot’s missile support capabilities, highlighting PATRIOT forward deployment initiatives, missile recertification programs and testing capabilities.
Throughout the tour, subject matter experts provided concrete examples of how LEAD is modernizing to support AMC’s OIB Modernization Implementation Plan. LEAD is planning facility updates for both enduring systems and the signature modernization efforts, updating tooling and processes, investing in the workforce, implementing cybersecurity measures, making energy improvements and ensuring environmental policy compliance.
“Depot modernization is critical to keep pace with emerging technologies and ensure agility to meet requirements at the time of need,” Williams said. “We face the challenge of sustaining a non-appropriated business model that is designed to meet today’s requirements while leaning into the future of sustaining new systems. Over 30% of the Signature Modernization Efforts are in air and missile defense, but requirements and procedures are still being developed. Therefore, our modernization plan is based on agility.”
Letterkenny Army Depot is the Army’s premier professional organic maintenance facility that provides overhaul, repair and modifications for tactical missile air defense and space systems, power generation equipment and various military vehicles, support systems and protection programs. LEAD is a subordinate of U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command and is the Air and Missile Defense and Long-Range Precision Fires depot, supporting systems for the Department of Defense, foreign partners and industry. Letterkenny Army Depot was established in 1942 and is a government-owned and -operated industrial installation located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.