The Army’s Organic Industrial Base Providing Readiness Today, Preparing for Challenges Tomorrow
The Army’s Organic Industrial Base (AOIB), a subset of the larger Defense Industrial Base, is critical to the support of joint warfighters and the equipment they use every day. The AOIB consists of 23 geographically dispersed government ammunition plants, manufacturing arsenals and maintenance depots that provide materiel and equipment readiness to U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Many of these installations provide one-of-a-kind capabilities that are difficult to rapidly replicate elsewhere. From small arms, explosives and cannon tubes to trucks and main battle tanks, the AOIB provides rapid, reliable, dependable support whenever and wherever it is needed. During Fiscal Year 2013, the AIOB provided $548 million in depot maintenance work and $530 million in supply support for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Since 2003, over $5.7 billion of depot production has supported services other than the Army.
The health of the organic industrial base is a key aspect for the United States Army to retain the capacity and capability to conduct future contingencies. Recent testimony of the Chief of Staff, Army (CSA) to the Senate Armed Services Committee highlights the inherent strategic risk facing the nation as the American military concludes more than a decade of war:
We have . . . learned repeatedly from previous drawdowns that the costs of creating an under-resourced and under-prepared Army will ultimately fall on the shoulders of our Soldiers who will deploy and respond to future contingencies. We have experienced this too many times to repeat this egregious error again. . . . [T]here is little to convince me that we will not ask our Soldiers to deploy again in the near future.
As the Army shifts focus from wartime production to sustainment operations, it must ensure that critical capabilities are preserved in a way that will allow rapid expansion when needed. During peacetime, the AOIB must sustain those capabilities to remain effective and able to meet future requirements. The CSA’s third Strategic Priority—A Ready and Modern Army—is underpinned by a diverse, efficient and scalable Army Organic Industrial Base that remains ready to answer the call.