Army Dialogue with Industry ‘Incredibly Important’

Army Dialogue with Industry ‘Incredibly Important’

Two people seated and talking
Photo by: AUSA/Luc Dunn

The Army’s dialogue with industry is “incredibly important” to building the Army of the future, said Lt. Gen. Karl Gingrich, deputy Army chief of staff for programs and resources, G-8.

Pointing out that industry leaders are on the leading edge of developing the equipment and technology that will keep soldiers “safe and lethal on the battlefield,” Gingrich acknowledged that getting through to the right people requires tenacity.

“The Army’s a big place. I am just one cog in the wheel, and the Army is a cog in the wheel in the Department of Defense, and [DoD] is a cog in the wheel in the U.S. government,” Gingrich said May 21 during a breakfast hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army as part of its Coffee Series.

Gingrich cautioned industry leaders that while the Army is receptive to innovative programs and capabilities, budgetary constraints play a role in moving things forward.

“Things that may come out that we may want to do, that we think we’re going to do, may actually not happen, so you have to be a little bit careful with us,” Gingrich said, adding that the conversations that take place at events such as the AUSA breakfast continue to be critical to modernizing the Army.

“I think this dialogue is incredibly important to help you help us keep our soldiers safe and lethal on the battlefield,” he said.

But when it comes to forecasting where the gaps might be going forward, he said, “some things we just don’t know, but there are other things that are readily apparent.”

Gingrich suggested that by maintaining a dialogue with the Army’s cross-functional teams, industry leaders will more easily keep their fingers on the pulse of future requirements. The cross-functional teams, known as CFTs, are organizations under Army Futures Command that focus on advancing specific modernization priorities.

The cross-functional teams “are very well linked to the associated [program managers and program executive offices], and then just work your way through that system,” Gingrich told the audience. “Army Futures Command is really the one who is pulling us to the future, it is determining conceptually how do we want to fight as far away as 2040, trying to help us as we try to make equipment decisions today to make sure we’re at least on a glidepath to the future.”

Determining how the Army will fight will create some gaps, he said, adding that “I think you just keep pounding on the door until they answer. We have CFTs, they are designed to keep pushing us forward.”