Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2011 Contents From the Army Acquisition Executive
Maintaining a Decisive Edge
Happy New Year! It is my hope that 2011 is filled
with good health and prosperity for you and your
loved ones. This is also a great time for me to thank our
superb editorial staff---Nelson McCouch III, Margaret C.
(Peggy) Roth, Robert E. Coultas, Kellyn D. Ritter, Jaclyn
Pitts, and Christina Sneed---for compiling and publishing
this award-winning, quarterly Army AL&T Magazine and
the monthly Army AL&T Online. They are a talented team,
dedicated to keeping the acquisition and contracting
community and our key stakeholders well-informed about our plans,
programs, and significant accomplishments. Keep up the great work!
This issue of Army AL&T is focused on the "State of the U.S. Army
Acquisition Corps." I was the first director of the Army Acquisition
Corps and now---two decades later---it is my privilege again, along
with LTG Bill Phillips, to lead this well-educated, disciplined, talented,
and success-oriented team, dedicated to meeting our Soldiers' needs
around the clock and around the world. While we are working to
rebuild and rebalance the greater Army acquisition workforce, it is
the Acquisition Corps that is charged with providing steady leader-
ship at all levels to meet the many challenges that come our way.
When I came to this job, I knew the Army was strong, but as people
said we need to keep the Army strong, I wondered, "How, exactly,
do we define that?" The word that comes to my mind is "decisive."
We need to further ensure that the dismounted Soldier is a decisive
weapon in his or her own right---not just when driving an Abrams
or flying an Apache, but when closing with the enemy in combat on
the ground. As is often said, "We don't want our Soldiers in a fair
fight; we want to give them an unfair advantage."
In the Air Force, the F-22 Raptor is a decisive weapon. It is a multimillion-
dollar fighter plane that cannot be matched by any known or projected
fighter aircraft. It has a sophisticated sensor suite that allows the pilot to
track, identify, shoot, and kill air-to-air threats before being detected. It
brings stealth to protect itself and other assets. In the Navy, the nuclear-
powered attack submarine is a decisive weapon. I was invited to be a
guest on the USS Phoenix during maneuvers against a surface fleet
near the Bermuda trenches where, in simulation, an entire enemy
surface fleet was sunk---without the submarine being seen or heard.
In the Army, the M-1 tank is a decisive weapon. It is the backbone
of the armored forces, and its lethality and survivability are legendary.
Because the Soldier is our most precious asset, it is my hope that
together---as a team with key stakeholders, including industry---we
can make sure the dismounted Soldier is a decisive weapon on the
battlefield. For the kinds of conflict projected in the near, mid, and
far term, the Soldier on the ground is going to play a dominant role,
and, as today, we want to protect our Soldiers and bring them home
safely. You, as a member of the Army AL&T team, need to make this
happen. I will do my job, but I need you to do your jobs, too.
Our acquisition focus is to maintain high quality in the equipment
we have now and the equipment on the way, for example the Ground
Combat Vehicle, which is decisive for mounted Soldiers. While bringing
greater focus to the dismounted Soldier, we will also
maintain a focus on end-items that are critical to the
mounted Soldier: the Apache, the CH-47, the M-1 tank,
MRAP, M-ATV, and so on. We must also focus on the
joint arena, especially our sister services. I know first-
hand the power that Air Force and Navy jets provide, and
the reassurance that comes with having Marines serving at
your side. In the joint arena, we must draw on the strength
of each service to support one another in the fight.
It is up to our science and technology community to provide the hard-
ware that gives our Soldiers the decisive edge, just like the F-22 and the
nuclear attack submarine. That is why I have put together a team that is
leading DOD in scientific expertise. I have hired Dr. Marilyn Freeman,
a visionary, as our Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research
and Technology; Dr. Scott Fish as the Army's Chief Scientist, the first in
roughly 25 years; and Ms. Heidi Shyu from Raytheon Co. as my Princi-
pal Deputy. I met Ms. Shyu when she chaired the Air Force Scientific
Advisory Board, on which I served for several years. I told an audience
at the Army Science Conference recently, "Don't worry about getting
into details with us. We are ready, able, and highly motivated to get
into the technologies and science associated with ground combat."
So, it is important to protect the entire Soldier, to make acquisition
responsive to technological evolution, and to maintain a world-class
science and technology foundation. Without it, we cannot maintain
the decisive edge. It is also important to have a horizontal view of
the acquisition process. You cannot worry about engines or trans-
missions alone. You need to look across the disciplines, have electri-
cal engineers talking to mechanical engineers and both talking to
software engineers, and, in the end, engage systems engineers to
put the program together.
Of course, we need program funding stability, and in this austere
budget environment, we need to be concerned about resources. As
Secretary of Defense Gates warned recently, "Given America's diffi-
cult economic circumstances and parlous fiscal condition, military
spending on things large and small can and should expect closer,
harsher scrutiny. The gusher has been turned off, and will stay off
for a good period of time." We truly need to do more without more,
and we are making progress in this area.
The AL&T community is doing great things, but we have to do even
better to ensure that our Soldiers are protected across the full spec-
trum of conflict so they can come home safely. As we move forward
with our plans, I want you to have moral courage, to be able to be
that person who says no when everyone else around the table says
yes. It is perfectly acceptable to say, based on your expertise, edu-
cation, and experience, that X is acceptable and Y is not. Believe
me, I will back you all the way, as I make clear in my interview with
Army AL&T Magazine, which starts on Page 3.
I hope you enjoy the many excellent articles in this issue, including
an interview with LTG Phillips on the responsibilities, successes, and
challenges of the Army Acquisition Corps, and that you will always
seek the next level of excellence in your work.
Dr. Malcolm Ross O'Neill
Army Acquisition Executive
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