Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2018 Contents ‘reorganization,’ ” McCarthy said. “It’s like deck chairs mov-
ing around. In the private sector—and this is important—it’s
restructuring. The commands will still stay there. There are
aspects or roles and responsibilities within those commands that
may go over here.”
This is where McCarthy’s business acumen, his relationships on
Capitol Hill and his knowledge of the process come in handy.
At an appearance at the Brookings Institution on Feb. 8, he said
that the Army is keeping Congress informed because some of
the restructuring that the Army is envisioning may require leg-
islation. “You’re now getting into where we’re deliberating at the
senior level to the final end state, what it’s going to be,” he said.
CHANGING ARMY CULTURE
The changes envisioned also include a major culture change.
“Normally,” McCarthy said, “when you want to make a change
in life, if it’s on your terms, it’s OK. But if it’s somebody coming
and sliding a memo across the table,” that’s a different matter.
To successfully make that kind of change, he said, “ Then you’ve
got to get them to buy into it. You’ve got to have a conversation.
You’ve got to emphasize to them why we’ve got to make the
changes that we do.”
Since the fall, McCarthy has been having just those kinds of
conversations. It’s important, he said, for people “to understand
the rationale behind” the coming changes. “When the leader
gets out and has the conversation, one adult to another, ‘Here’s
where we are trying to go,’ you learn.” That give and take—his
own education as well as that of the Army’s stakeholders—is
important to McCarthy. To make change happen, he said, “you
have to listen and learn. And you also adjust. It will help make
the best decision possible.” As an example, he said, he’s had
roundtables with the PEOs. “They gave me a lot of good ideas,”
“When we get to the announcement” of what the Futures Com-
mand will look like, he added, “ it will require town halls or
roundtables” to make sure that his message is clear and people
understand what he’s looking for.
On the wall behind his desk, in his otherwise sparsely fur-
nished office, McCarthy keeps a glass-encased M-1 Garand.
The weapon was the U.S . Army’s go-to rifle in World War II,
the Korean War and saw some use in Vietnam. For McCarthy,
the elegantly simple and effective semi-automatic weapon is a
reminder of just how effective Army acquisition can be.
The acquisition community, he said, does “remarkable things.
What I would ask them is just to afford me the time and the
patience to go through this process.” He knows that change is
hard, but getting the Army into the information age is criti-
cal. “When you’re making changes in big organizations, it takes
time. And I know people are anxious about where we’re going.”
Everyone should understand that many decisions are still to be
made and should afford leadership—Esper, McCarthy, Milley
and McConville—“the opportunity to talk them through the
That includes the S&T community, he said. He wants to see
scientists and technologists working on systems that they know
the Army is driving for, “and they are going to see it on their
watch. There is no better way to incentivize somebody, espe-
cially the scientific and engineering community. They like to
study and make things, but they like to see it fly, they want to
see it explode, they want to see it drive.” And McCarthy wants
to see that happen.
He made it clear that he holds the workforce in the highest
esteem. “We have very talented people. We have tremendous
capital investment. It’s getting them all aligned. And once we
do that, I have no doubt we will do really special things faster.
We do special things now; it’s just taking too long.” With respect
to acquisition leadership, he said, “We have been blessed. The
cross-functional team directors and the PEOs that are playing
in this, they are the best we have, the best people we have.”
MR. STEVE STARK is senior editor of Army AL&T magazine. He
holds an M.A . in creative writing from Hollins University and a
B.A . in English from George Mason University. In addition to more
than two decades of editing and writing about the military and
S&T, he is the best-selling ghostwriter of several consumer
health-oriented books and an award-winning novelist.
“It’s breathtaking how much
energy comes into getting a
26 Army AL&T Magazine
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