While no one can predict the future, Maj. Gen. Lynn Collyar anticipates 2013 will be a year of transition for Redstone Arsenal.
“2013 will be a year of change,” the AMCOM commander said. “We just re-elected the administration, who will either keep or select new civilian leadership for the Department of Defense and we are largely in a transition period from a drawdown in Southwest Asia to an increased emphasis in the Pacific, and an increased emphasis in not only resetting our units back to combat standards, but also a change in training.”
Despite those transitions, AMCOM’s mission throughout 2013 will remain the same – supporting the war fighter – no matter what changes or challenges the future may bring, Collyar said. Concerns about the budget may be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but that does not change the level of dedication the AMCOM’s work force pledges to every man and woman who wears the uniform.
“Throughout the history of the United States, after a conflict, we have always downsized our military and downsized the amount of dollars that go into it,” Collyar said. “Especially seeing the economic times all of us are in, it is just as important for us to be the right stewards of taxpayers’ money as anything. That really is the challenge – how do we provide that same level of support? Because we still have forces in harm’s way – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and civilians – and we have to take care of them. We will always do the best we can to take care of that work force, even if it means downsizing somewhat.”
Because that potential reduction in dollars and cents does not necessarily translate to a reduction in the mission, efficiency is a priority for Collyar.
“We’ve got to keep the materiel enterprises going and continue to execute the mission that they have as effectively as they have been doing for 10 years of combat,” Collyar said. “We’ve really got to do that more efficiently. Everyone’s expectation is the budget is going to decline, so with our partners in the PEOs and PMs, our partners on the research and development side, our contractor partners, all of us together, we’ve got to figure out how we can continue to provide that support in a more efficient means.”
That efficiency begins, Collyar said, with each and every member of the AMCOM work force.
“There’s nobody who knows better about every individual job than the one doing it, and those people are primarily the ones that make the recommendations that make us better,” he said. “There are always processes that are developed and processes that we need to do better, openness with our partners. One of the priorities I’ve tried to make here is to be open and integrate our systems with our partners, like the Defense Logistics Agency, where our enterprise business systems and logistics management systems can talk to each other and have visibility, so that you can truly see the supply chain from end to end. Things like that will allow us to work with our partners, our suppliers, better. We continually improve our forecasting and processes, and we have to be more effective at that.
“With declining resources, we cannot afford to buy parts that we don’t need to or buy readiness that we don’t need. We work to improve those areas every single day, and it’s led by the person who does that job and knows it better than the rest of us. It doesn’t come from me at the top. They come from the bottom up.”
Collyar’s vision for 2013 revolves around three main objectives – war fighter support, work force development, and stewardship excellence – a “three-legged stool” that is essential to the work force’s obligation to carry out the AMCOM mission.
“You can’t do one without the other,” Collyar said. “The war fighter support is why we exist. Without them, we don’t need to be here. The excellence allows us to provide them the right level of support at the best value, which then allows our other lifecycle commands to also have the resources that they need to do the same thing from their commodity areas. It’s our work force that provides that capability to us. They’re the ones who execute the mission day in and day out. Without one of the legs on that stool, we will not be as capable as we need to be.”
To improve the AMCOM work force’s capability even more, a large focus will be placed on development postwide in 2013. Collyar aims to take advantage of the vast array of organizations and commands located on post to improve civilian employee development opportunities.
“We have great opportunities with our civilian work force to partner with all of the agencies here to really develop some civilian education or civilian developmental programs,” Collyar said. “They don’t have the capability to do that in all locations. At no cost, we can move people around to develop them between AMCOM, the Space and Missile Defense Command, Missile Defense Agency and the Army Materiel Command headquarters, as well as reaching out to places like NASA and Department of Justice.”
No matter what the title or position an individual may hold, Collyar encourages all employees to offer their very best to the mission of Team Redstone in the new year.
“Do the best you can every single day,” he said. “There is always work for good people. It doesn’t matter what unemployment rates are, I’m a firm believer that for good people, there is always a job out there for them. For the people who do the work for us, and continue to do their best every day, we will do our best to work for them as they work for us. I think we have a pretty good track record.”
That philosophy applies to Collyar himself, who considers his arrival at Redstone Arsenal in June his highlight of 2012. Redstone Arsenal and AMCOM, where he serves as senior commander, are known to have superb reputations Armywide, a challenge for the Huntsville native to continue in 2013, with the help of the Arsenal’s work force.
“You can’t go anywhere and sit on your laurels,” he said. “It is all about continuing to provide that capability to the war fighter, and in most cases if I can stay out of the way, these people will execute that every single day.”
By the end of 2013, Collyar hopes AMCOM will be able to proclaim mission accomplished when it comes to providing unwavering support to the war fighter, no matter what challenges may arise in the weeks and months to come.
“I hope that the headlines read that we continued to successfully drawdown forces in Afghanistan; that the support to those forces maintained the same level of excellence that they have had for the last 10 years; that we have safely and successfully repositioned units back in the United States and that AMCOM continues to provide the capabilities that are needed both today and in future conflicts,” he said.
Until then, it’s back to business as usual on Redstone Arsenal.
“I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and I hope they all got to spend some time with family and friends, and that they had a safe season, because we really do need them back here. We need them to be a part of this team,” Collyar said. “Their efforts are not unnoticed. I do look forward to another great year with AMCOM and Team Redstone. We can never forget our Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians who are deployed in harm’s way, and that they’re doing that so we have the freedoms that we have. It will be a great year.”