LWI - Land Warfare

AUSA 2018: Army Futures Command paves a new road forward

9th October 2018 - 10:28 GMT | by Scott Gourley in London

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This week’s 2018 AUSA annual meeting and exhibition included a panel update on the current status and future plans for the Army Futures Command (AFC).

‘AFC is an opportunity for us to bring two key stakeholders together: acquisition and requirements,’ explained Ryan McCarthy, Under Secretary of the Army, noting that this critical pursuit is ‘the pathfinder to help us revolutionise the army, because this is a process of fundamentally changing the mindsets of our soldiers and civil servants assigned to these two organisations'.

‘Our new operating model is fusing all of these stakeholders together as a team of teams,’ he added. 

‘We can no longer continue the mindset of handing off a baton from one stakeholder to another. We have got to become like a football team, shoulder to shoulder and marching down the field to win together, blocking for each other, gang-tackling the opposition, sharing information, and helping each other deal with difficult problems.’

He continued: ‘Mindset is how we reduce span time in making decisions, to attain clarity and unity of purpose in our actions. For this command to be successful, we will have to execute to the letter.’

McCarthy called for a focus on management of science & technology and research & development investments, as well as increased collaboration.

‘Over the last 20 years our challenges have been simple to identify,’ he said. ‘Our inability to tie operating concepts to materiel design has hamstrung our ability to work with industry to get to successful outcomes. We have also become intensely bureaucratic and often over complicate the procurement process, thus dragging out sales cycles and squeezing the cash flow of our vendors, making us a very difficult customer.’

He noted that both civilian and military service leadership stood ‘shoulder to shoulder on the need to change in our operating style and improve our ability to get solutions to our warfighters with relevance’.

Highlighting a range of milestone accomplishments since October 2017, McCarthy said: ‘We have solidified our new operating concept; focused our budgets in FY18 and 19 against our six priorities; selected eight CFT [cross functional team] leaders; selected a four-star commander; chosen a city in America to house our command’s headquarters; and we declared an IOC [initial operating capability].

‘We’re moving out and there’s no turning back’, he said. 

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