The Army must continue transforming its organic industrial base to ensure the safety of its workforce and the readiness of the force, senior leaders said Oct. 13 during a contemporary military forum titled “Driving Deliberate Change in the Industrial Base Through Innovation, Vision and Cooperation.”
The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 was the most sweeping financial management reform legislation in 40 years when enacted.
The Pentagon must fight its “heavily bureaucratic” and “risk-averse” culture if it wants to transform and modernize the force for the future battlefield, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.
“You have people protecting their programs, protecting their activities, protecting their staff, and on top of that is the risk aversion of taking risks that should be taken,” Esper said in a virtual discussion during the recent 2020 Aspen Security Forum.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has taken the rare step of praising the defense industry for its hard work during a time of pressing national needs.
“During these extraordinary times for our Nation and the world, I would like to recognize your focus and dedication to maintaining the United States’ unrivaled defense industrial base,” he says in a May 4 letter.
His remarks came just a day after he warned in a public forum that the military may soon face flat budgets and that he might cut funding for legacy programs so the Pentagon can afford modernization.
The Army has taken advantage of new hiring authorities to recruit and train new talent for the depots, arsenals and ammunition plants that manufacture, maintain and refurbish Army equipment, the service’s top logistician said.
The Defense Department’s top acquisition officer says the military needs competition, innovation and creativity to meet national security needs.
“Competition is our friend,” said Ellen Lord, deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment. “I'm very, very supportive of competition, and we try to drive that in many different ways. We particularly are interested in small and medium-size businesses; an enormous amount of our innovation comes from small businesses.”
The Army’s modernization efforts are a “tremendous opportunity” for companies that are willing to work with the service, the Army’s top civilian leader said.
Since the Army revealed an extensive effort to cancel, reduce or delay nearly 200 programs to funnel more than $30 billion into its six modernization priorities, the service has gotten pushback from some who believe the Army’s priorities are “misguided,” Army Secretary Mark T. Esper said.
While reminding everyone that there are legal and ethical limitations in dealing with companies seeking to do business with the government, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan also says in a March 2 memorandum there is much to gain by talking to industry.
Ten months into the Trump administration, the Army finally got a secretary of the Army on Nov. 20.