President, Platforms & Services
To ensure strategic deterrence and enable all-domain victory in potential conflict ahead, the scope of critical modernization requirements is both deep and wide.
How does industry and government come together to tackle such a monumental task? The key is the commitment to a government and industry partnership for the long game. It will require focus on the Army’s vision for 2040 and bringing to life the full potential of technology and innovation to help realize that vision.
In the long run, the interests of industry and the Army are aligned. We both want our Army to remain the world’s most effective fighting force ready to deliver when called upon. We both want a healthy industrial base that can reliably provide affordable, innovative solutions to keep our Army at the cutting edge.
One of the areas where we now see the urgency and importance of long-term strategy is around munitions. The war in Ukraine showcases to the world the relevancy of ammunition and calls into question the United States’ capacity to support stockpiling on a global scale. One of the most important lessons that we are learning is that scale and mass still matter.
The volume of munitions used in the defense against Russia’s invasion in Ukraine is straining public and private supply chains more than we’ve seen in a generation—and that will become an enduring requirement for sustainment. When we consider how to meet that sustainment need, we must consider the workers and production materials to meet that demand. Decisions about products are always decisions about people.
As an example, the Army has set an objective to ramp to a million 155mm rounds per year. We need to ask ourselves as a defense industrial base: how do we combine our ability to scale and our ability to innovate with new technologies to meet this national need? Most importantly, how do we ensure that we develop and retain the skilled workforce necessary to meet this need?
These are some of the questions that as an industry we are partnering with the Services to tackle, to ensure we not only have the technological overmatch but also the long-term scale and mass overmatch to both deter and then win in a protracted conflict. The modernization and capacity of our supply chain to support large volumes of ammunition, propellant and explosives should be a modernization priority, and it will take increasing partnership among Congress, industry, and the Department of Defense to make it happen.
Innovation is a national priority to ensure that the United States has the technical and tactical edge. We know that investment in overmatch is both the best way to prevent conflict and to win on the battlefield when our soldiers are called into conflict.
The technology that underpins autonomy and multi-domain operations are advancing at an aggressive pace. It is clear that the days of fighting in traditional silos are largely over. The future fight will be a multi-domain operations fight and will leverage autonomy to take advantage of what technology can do to free up workload and focus our soldiers on what people do best.
Innovation of these technologies is only half of the battle. Innovation in how our Army will fight with these technologies is just as important. Project Convergence offers a rich opportunity for our best engineers and technologists from industry to collaborate with our best soldiers on both the technology and the operational use of these technologies. It is through this real-world collaboration that as a community we can merge the technology with the battlefield CONOPS to bring the promise of autonomy and multi-domain operations to life for our soldiers.
The stakes are rising when it comes to our national security, and it’s vital for government and industry to commit to the long-term partnerships and a long-term view that will help drive success. Project Convergence represents a joint investment in that partnership that is truly taking the long view, together.
When I think about this from a broader standpoint, the critical challenge is ensuring we have the technical and tactical edge within the constraints of the Army’s budget and buying power.
Our Army needs and deserves high end platforms and weapon systems to assure overmatch against the most stressing threats and missions. However, we can’t afford, nor do we need, those same high end systems for every threat and mission scenario. The Army needs a fleet of platforms and weapon systems that affordably gives us overmatch with the right capabilities, at the right cost, for the diverse set of threats and missions the Army will face. Think of the Air Force’s approach to a fighter fleet including the high end F-22 and the affordable and versatile F-16 – complimentary platforms that in combination offered affordable fleet wide overmatch.
Both of these types of platforms require innovation. The high end platforms need to push the limits of what’s possible technically. On these more affordable, multi-role platforms, this is where the flexibility of Modular Open System Architecture comes in. With an affordable and scalable base platform, the Army has the ability to rapidly develop mission-tailored variants to serve their diverse requirements while maximizing economy of scale and efficient sustainment.
From experience, we’ve seen great success at this with the Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicles efforts as a good example of Army and industry partnership to bring a variety of armored vehicles with next generation capabilities to our soldiers. We are very excited about the recent decision to enter Full Rate Production of the AMPV and are very proud to field the Army’s first Next Generation Combat Vehicle to reach our Soldiers. The five variants in production now offer a big step forward for our Army and this base platform offers the potential for affordable mission role variants to serve the Army for years to come.
As a government and industry community, we must continue to build our partnership and focus on getting the balance right between high end capability and fleet wide affordability to assure our Army will never be in a fair fight.
And never standing alone.