Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2018 Contents Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Apache attack and Black Hawk
utility helicopters, and the Patriot missile defense system], it was
really the big 64. There were five primary weapon systems. It
was about another 59 programs that fell well underneath those
McCarthy is serious—and passionate—about the Army’s
new big six. “If you look at the six priorities, long-range pre-
cision fires—there are several programs that fall under that.
Future vertical lift could be tactical, it could be lift, it could
be unmanned systems, but it’s all underneath that. Same
thing [is] true with networks. Soldier lethality spans all fun-
damentals—shoot, move, communicate, sustain, protect. ...
It’s very important that we manage these like a portfolio of
capabilities, so that we get an adequate hedge.” That hedge is
an important part of a tech portfolio, especially if one line of
inquiry turns out to be far more significant than reasonably
anticipated at first.
GETTING CHANGE DONE
How to make change happen in the Army to best effect mod-
ernization, McCarthy said, was on the table from the start of his
discussions with Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, who, he
said, understood that “a critical element to America’s national
defense is going to be a modernization program that’s focused
against near-peer competitors. I knew this back when I inter-
viewed with him in the spring, very early in the spring.”
It became abundantly clear at McCarthy’s confirmation hearing
that modernization was going to be the most significant mission
for the Army. “If you followed my confirmation testimony, I
didn’t get a lot of questions, but the ones that I did were entirely
about this subject,” he said.
But that subject was not a surprise to McCarthy. A graduate
of the Virginia Military Institute, he was a U.S. Army Ranger
who “went to war 17 years ago in a JSOC [Joint Special Opera-
tions Command] unit” in Afghanistan. Following his service,
he earned an MBA, worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill, and
for former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert M. Gates during
both the Bush and Obama administrations. Later he worked for
Lockheed Martin Corp., so his passion for the Army is tempered
only by his in-depth knowledge of the realities of the different
aspects of acquisition.
In many ways, McCarthy approaches change in the Army both
as someone who is Army green to the core, but also as a busi-
nessman. If the Army is to do its job, putting it in a position
to do so is a business proposition. And, for McCarthy, a lot of
business is relationships. Most important among those are his
relationships with Milley and McConville.
“I have a very strong relationship with the chief and the vice
[chief ]. I’ve known them from a previous life, served with
them before.” Those relationships helped him when he came
into office to start to “move quickly, because there was trust
already established. In one of my early conversations with the
chief, I said, ‘You’ve got to nail down the priorities,’ ” and then
stick with them. Indeed, McCarthy said, he and Milley have
agreed that for as long as they are in office, they will continue
to hammer those six priorities so that everyone, from DOD to
Congress to industry to the whole of the acquisition, logistics
and technology enterprise, knows and understands them.
“We can’t change, because we need to have the system primed
against these six capabilities. You’ve got to let industry know,
you’ve got to let Congress know, you’ve got to let OSD [the
Office of the Secretary of Defense] know about it so that they
see the entire Army get into formation in phalanx and attack.”
That’s exactly what is happening now, he said, even if decisions
are still to be made.
ON THE SAME PAGE
McCarthy, left, has said that as long as he and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark
A. Milley, right, are in office, they will continue to emphasize the Army’s
six modernization priorities so that all stakeholders—including DOD, the
Army acquisition enterprise and Congress—know and understand them.
(U.S. Army photo by John G. Martinez)
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