Army Aviation Betting on Aggressive Timelines

Army Aviation Betting on Aggressive Timelines

Doug Bush speaks to attendees at AUSA's Aviation Hot Topic
Photo by: AUSA/Luc Dunn

Douglas Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, says his top priority is very simple: “The only thing that actually matters in the Army is equipping soldiers so they can fight and win.”

Speaking at an Army Aviation Hot Topic event hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army, Bush said the Army has struggled in the past on designing, building and fielding new products. Times have changed, he said, with the Army on the edge of big changes.

The AUSA Hot Topic, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Army aviation branch, focused on honoring the past and transforming for the future and included Army and industry representatives. Retired Gen. Bob Brown, AUSA’s president and CEO, said mingling industry and the Army always produces a healthy discussion. Bush noted his first paying job was as a national security analyst for AUSA.

Now the Army’s top acquisition official, Bush described acquisition as a “supporting function” for the Army that has become a priority. The Army is attempting to do this “different and better,” he said. Using new authorities granted by Congress, the Army is trying to do everything a little faster, cutting out initial steps so that prototypes are produced more quickly to help get “real equipment” into the hands of soldiers. 

“It is really hard to perfectly predict the future,” he said, which is why concurrently working on requirements and design is helpful “if it is done well.”

“We have very aggressive timelines,” Bush said, noting that the war in Ukraine shows why the need is so urgent.

“We are doing things differently,” Bush said, with requirements being defined on the fly. Going fast is important, but the Army also needs to be transparent and open. This is different than the “slow and painful” requirements process in the past, he said.

Congress has been supportive, Bush said, both in aiding Army transformation and helping to supply equipment, weapons and munitions to Ukraine. Additionally, the pending fiscal 2024 budget will be strong for the Army, he pledged.