The Army wants to change how it sustains critical technology and communications gear3 min read
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The Army is changing how it sustains technological equipment to improve the maintenance process, according to the service’s top official in charge of those efforts.
The sustainment community wants to embed itself in the requirements process for new systems to get ahead of timelines, said Maj. Gen. Robert Edmonson, who leads Communications-Electronics Command, which is charged with sustaining command, control, computers, communications, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
“What we’re doing is we’re embedding ourselves further left in the process. We’re getting engaged in the Army Requirement Oversight Council, Army capabilities boards and many others, and we are ensuring that our capabilities and our requirements are clearly understood and codified early so that we can plan appropriately to deliver that capability at the point of need,” he said in a Nov. 2 interview. “That’s not a conversation that begins the day in which you realize that you have a need. That’s a conversation that begins many years in advance.”
During the last 20 years, as America’s forces focused on counterterrorism, the sustainment of systems was often an afterthought. Early engagement, however, allows the sustainment community to better prioritize capabilities, Edmonson said.
He noted that under the Army’s new readiness model — Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, or ReARMM — there are certain resourcing decisions that must be made.
“We have decisions to make under ReARMM. We have deliberate decisions to make with regard to units that are modernizing inside of a certain window and units that are deploying inside of a certain window,” he said. “That’s going to allow us inside of CECOM to target our efforts to program our resources to be much more deliberate and precise in the readiness that we’re providing to units.
“Not all units will be in the same cycle in the same window at the same time. From a CECOM perspective, what that means for us is we’ll able to see when units are most available for sustainment, what units are maybe not as available for certain levels of sustainment at a certain time. But really it’s going to be much more dynamic of a process than previous[ly].”
Moreover, he said, ReARMM allows CECOM to look at today’s maintenance requirements and modernization priorities under a single model to make informed decisions about what to divest, adding it is critical for the multiyear budgeting cycle.
As the Army tries to improve its sustainment capability, Edmonson said he is challenging the community to examine how it might sustain commercial off-the-shelf equipment differently than is currently does.
“We need to understand more of that commercial off-the-shelf capability, and we need to be able to build ourselves into what we’re going to want to look like tomorrow,” he said, noting these capabilities will increasingly factor in the Army’s capability arsenal of the future.
“As the network and cybersecurity are major pillars within the National Security and National Defense strategies, Tobyhanna Army Depot is improving its organic industrial base to provide world-class C5ISR depot-level support to the Army’s 31+4 signature modernization efforts and joint weapons systems,” he said. “As the Army and other services adopt agile acquisition strategies for network-enabled weapon systems, Tobyhanna Army Depot remains linked to the program offices, Army Futures Command and [Department of Defense] materiel developers to obtain common or standardized technical capabilities necessary to develop infrastructure investment strategies to support those future, enduring requirements.”
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.