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Army to Form Command to Streamline Modernization

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AUSA News
Monday, October 09, 2017

The Army plans to create a command aimed at streamlining Army modernization, top officials announced today.

The new command, the name and locale of which have not been disclosed, was announced by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley and Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy during the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition. The three-day event opened today at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Noting that the Army's competitive edge has eroded in an increasingly dangerous world, officials said the new command will help the Army get up to speed faster.

“The Army is in need of serious modernization,” McCarthy said. Old platforms that have been upgraded for the past 40 years cannot withstand many more upgrades, he said. The Army needs new equipment, quickly.

“Our peer competitors are doing it faster than us," he said. “If you don’t adapt in a changing environment, you die.”

If the Army needs to be modernized, so too, does the process, both leaders said. The Army needs to transform the acquisition and modernization process, which is cumbersome and unwieldy. “We have to shift gears a little bit, because future readiness matters,” Milley said. “We are restructuring the corporation.”

Rather than continue the current system that is more bureaucratic than practical, the Army wants to put the modernization process under one tent, so to speak.

The details have not fully been worked out, but the scope of the new command will extend “from idea to delivery,” McCarthy said. 

Priorities include the following key areas:

  • A long-range precision fires capability to restore Army dominance in range, munitions and target acquisition.
  • A next-generation combat vehicle.
  • Vertical lift platforms in manned, unmanned and optionally manned variants.
  • An Army network that can be used even in areas where the electromagnetic spectrum is denied or degraded.
  • Air and missile defense capabilities. 
  • Soldier lethality.

The new command will draw from within existing force structure, officials said, and is not expected to create civilian job losses or movements.  

The Army plans to stand up the new organization by the summer of 2018, Milley said. As such, the Army has assigned Lt. Gen. Ed Cardon to lead a task force that will study and plan the new organization. 

Cardon has begun the 120-day planning process.

The Army announced the project now, Cardon told AUSA, because the annual meeting is a good forum for presenting the plan. Much is riding on the new command, officials said.

“Unless we do this we will be increasingly losing ground against potential adversaries,” Milley said.

 “Our soldiers deserve the gold standard,” McCarthy said, adding that he intends to give it to them.

 Susan Katz Keating