Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2018 Contents and engineering and requirement con-
tracting. This plan will include a one-year
operational assignment between majors to
full-bird colonels to enhance their under-
standing of user operational needs.
“ This is a leader issue. We are adjusting
our organization to put capable, proven
leaders at the head of every organization
who will be singly focused ... in order
to provide focused clarity to the require-
ments process,” McCarthy said.
His directive, coupled with the congres-
sionally mandated return of milestone
decision authority for most acquisition
programs to the services, promises to
have sweeping effects on the education
and career development of acquisition
personnel, both uniformed and civilian.
In February, Lt. Gen. Paul A. Ostrowski,
principal military deputy to the assistant
secretary of the Army for acquisition,
logistics and technology (ASA(ALT)),
approved a new curriculum for acquisi-
tion personnel to emphasize the technical
aspects of program management over
the traditional business administration
focus. “Time will tell, of course, if the
desired results emerge,” observed John T.
Dillard, a retired Army project manager
who is now a senior lecturer at the Naval
Postgraduate School. “But these are the
largest confluence of changes I have seen
in my entire acquisition career.”
Is the Army really ready to make innova-
tion happen as it modernizes?
There is a sense of urgency among major
players that is unlike any in the recent
“At REF, I heavily invested in the teams
that we had forward,” Newell said.
“ Their job was to find problems and pull
them from the battlefield, and not wait
passively for someone to bring them
something.” That’s exactly what McCar-
thy and Milley want to see.
The new futures command will need
flexibility to innovate, Newell went on.
“ They need to be funded in a manner that
doesn’t artificially tell them you’re going
to buy 17 widgets this year. They don’t
know how many problems they’re going
to solve a year. ... The money they’re
given needs to be treated as investment-
The first pieces are now in place for the
most significant organizational change
to the Army’s procurement system since
Gen. Creighton W. Abrams replaced the
Continental Army Command in 1973
with U.S . Army Forces Command and
U.S . Training and Doctrine Command,
which, with U.S. Army Materiel Com-
mand, have formed the foundation for the
Army since then—organizing, equipping
and training forces to conduct prompt
and sustained land combat operations in
support of combatant commanders.
As the new futures command takes
shape, the Army has aligned 80 percent
of its $2.4 billion in S&T funding with
the six modernization priorities and,
through a threat-based strategy, has
taken steps to ensure that technological
solutions are mature before the Army
transitions them to a program of record.
Lastly, the Army is putting the right
people in the right places to execute the
newly streamlined requirements and
“We are at an inflection point in history,
as we must reform how we modern-
ize our Army: the roles, responsibilities,
structures, organizations,” Milley said.
Readiness has improved in recent years,
he said, “but we are not there yet. And we
must continue to lean into the readiness
with a laser-focus sense of urgency like
we’ve never had before.”
Judging from the Army acquisition
leadership now in place, the futures
command has a promising future. The
current ASA(ALT), Dr. Bruce D. Jette,
“brilliantly designed the Rapid Equipping
Force,” said Newell, who called Jette
“probably the most significant innovation
figure that I know of who came out of
uniform within the Army. He’s impas-
sioned. I think that he will absolutely
drive some folks crazy.
“Ostrowski also worked at R EF and was
a great counsel to me while I was at R EF
and he was the PEO [program execu-
tive officer for] Soldier. So you now have
some guys who were together eight, nine
years ago, 10 years ago, back together
again—which I think is a great thing” for
innovation, Newell said.
“I think within the Pentagon there’s a clear
movement in that direction,” he said.
“Now the question is how long it will take
them to get the albatross to move.”
MS. MARGARET C. ROTH is an editor
of Army AL&T magazine. She has more
than a decade of experience in writing
about the Army and more than three
decades’ experience in journalism and
public relations. Roth is a MG Keith L.
Ware Public Affairs Award winner and
a co-author of the book “Operation Just
Cause: The Storming of Panama.” She holds
a B.A . in Russian language and linguistics
from the University of Virginia.
Mr. Michael Bold, editor, Army AL&T
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