Improvements Sought in Army Organic Industrial Base
The Army’s organic industrial base, a $14 billion enterprise including 23 ammunition plants, depots and manufacturing arsenals, has “demonstrated its value” during the past 17 years of conflict but needs to be “optimized” so it has surge capacity for future operations, Lt. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee, deputy Army chief of staff for logistics, told a congressional panel.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on readiness, Piggee said the plants, depots and arsenals “manufacture and reset the Army’s best equipment, generating readiness and operational capability throughout Army formations. When the force needs equipment or parts manufactured, repaired, upgraded or modernized, the OIB’s industrial artisans deliver,” using the abbreviation for organic industrial base.
“The OIB successfully surged in order to provide warfighting equipment required for contingency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Piggee said, but it is “in a period of transition.”
As the U.S. redeployed forces and drew down the Army over the past decade, it has made it more difficult “to balance our workload with our capacity and workforce,” he said. That has increased costs and resulted in some inefficient operations and left capabilities that are more reactive than proactive, he said.
“We are embracing opportunities for change,” Piggee said. This includes improving forecasting of workloads, reassessing capacity and capability management, and developing long-term plans for improving infrastructure and equipment. “We are constantly looking for synergies with industry through public-private partnerships, and will continue to streamline depot maintenance through automation and continuous process improvement initiatives,” he said.