American Soldiers Are Our Most Important Customers

By O'Neill, Malcolm R. | Army, October 2010 | Go to article overview

American Soldiers Are Our Most Important Customers

O'Neill, Malcolm R., Army

The Army acquisition, logistics and technology (AL&T) cornmunity is charged to perform a vital mission to provide our soldiers a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world's best equipment and services and leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs. This responsibility takes on even greater importance as we work to rapidly field equipment to meet the urgent needs of our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

American soldiers are our most important customers. They are at the center of all that we accomplish and the focus of all our plans. We are a 43,000-member workforce that is dedicated to meeting the needs of our soldiers around the clock and around the world. From individual force protection items to ammunition to combat systems to food and water, we work closely with numerous headquarters, U.S. Army Materiel Command, and our industry partners to ensure that materiel solutions and services are delivered to our warfighters on tinie, every time. Most importantly, speed matters! The best equipment is effective only i1 we get it in the hands of soldiers when they need it. Our soldiers depend on us for mission success and a safe return home.

As an example of rapid, responsive acquisition. the nation made a tremendous investment in fielding mine resistant ambush protected (MRAI') vehicles to our torces ii' Iraq and Afghanistan to protect them from deadly improvised e~cplosive devices (IEDs). In addition, to remain ahead of insurgents~, the Army and Us- Marine Corps used the basic design of the MRAP vehicle as the foundation for the MRAP all-terrain vehicle (M-ATV), modifying it for the mountainous terrain found in Afghanistan and other regions of the world. Production on the M-ATV began in July 0119 with the first trucks fielded in December 2009-just 159 days from contract award. Soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen who work in these vehicles have the greatest confidence iii their abilities to defeat the enemy and reduce combat deaths and casualties associated with roadside bombs and other explosive threats. The following is a testament to the effectiveness of the M-ATV: An Army staff sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, was in the lead vehicle during a ground assault convoy when ambushed by enemy fire. His M-ATV was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades and hundreds of rounds of enemy fire. Although the vehicl.e was disabled, everyone survived the ensuing four-hour firefight.

The expanded use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is another success story. The development and acceptance of UAS within the k-my has fundamentally and forever changed the way we conduct operations. These systems are the forward "eves of the Army" and enable our wartighters to see farther, engage more and save lives. In April 2010, the Army celebrated a significant UAS milestone-I million flight hours. UAS have proven to be invaluable for monitoring activities, enhancing situational awareness and protecting our forces.

We are working to make wartime innovations institutional to better enable success in today's wars while ensuring that our forces are prepared for a complex future. We must not only prepare for the threats we anticipate, but also build the agile, adaptive and innovative structures capable of quickly identifying emerging gaps and adjusting program and budgetarv priorities to rapidly field capabilities that will mitigate those gaps. Our research and development community must continually assess the threat of emerging and commercially available technology and ensure that the technology needed to counter these threats is mature.

The Army modernization strategy reflects an overarching vision to meet equipping demands by developing and fielding an affordable and interoperable mix of the best equipment available for success in both today's and tomorrow's full spectrum military operations. …

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