On Thursday, GovCon public and private sector representatives gathered for the Potomac Officers Clubâs 3rd Annual Army Forum, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Bruce Jette, assistant secretary of acquisition, technology and logistics for theÂ U.S. Army. After Jetteâs keynote, an expert panel continued the discussion, highlighting the service branchâs modernization initiatives and challenges.
Early in his speech, Jette remarked that the âArmy has been running hard for a long time,â noting the consequences of sequestration and continuing resolutions. â[The Army] was being consumed and not replenished,â he said. However, Jette divulged, in working with Congress, weâve been âvery successfulâ at recently achieving full readiness, allowing the service branch to now focus on modernization. With increased defense appropriations in the next two federal budgets, Jette expressed greater optimism for the Armyâs near-term capabilities. âTodayâs modernization is tomorrowâs readiness,â he told the audience.
However, Jette did warn thereâs always the problem of âachieving your budget â¦ to make sure youâre spending that [money] carefully.â Itâs important to not only make sure allocated funds are spent, Jette elaborated, so they donât revert to Congress, but also maximized, for the effectiveness of the overall acquisition process.
To that end, Jette discussed the creation of the Austin, Texas-based Army Futures Command, which is meant to streamline the branchâs procurement process. Under the AFC, Jette explained, the Armyâs capabilities will be studied and tracked over time, and the branch will enjoy greater integration. This will enable a cross functional team to focus squarely on future results and capabilities, he said. âA fundamental piece thatâs most important â¦ is this bringing together of insight thatâs necessary to define our warfighting.â
Jette also touched on the AFC’s role in implementing Big Six modernization priorities: long-range precision firepower; next-generation combat vehicles; future vertical lift; networks; air and missile defense; and soldier lethality. âEvery year [it’s] something else. The most important thing,â Jette commented, saying this makes it difficult to be prepared and focused on looming threats. To combat this, he explains, the rankings and prescriptions in the Big Six list correspond with the Army’s needs, to achieve true operational readiness.
On Monday, the Senate confirmedÂ Gen. John Murray, former deputy chief of staff for the Armyâs G-8 unit, as AFC commander. Murray will assume leadership of the Army’s laboratory system, which was previously overseen by Jette.
UnderÂ the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, theÂ Army must submitÂ a report to Congress by early next year detailing the AFC’s command structure.