The Aviation and Missile Command is focused on the future and many of its 2019 efforts support that forward-looking focus.
While the creation of the Army Futures Command and emphasis on Multi-Domain Operations has informed AMCOM’s priorities of modernization and reform, supporting today’s Soldiers remains key.
“Our workforce, whether they are at Redstone Arsenal, another stateside location or overseas, has a direct impact on the warfighter,” AMCOM Commander Maj. Gen. Todd Royar said. “As the chief of staff of the Army has said, readiness is built piece by piece. Our efforts remain focused on enhancing readiness now – even as we remain in lock step with the Cross Functional Teams that are forging our future.”
AMCOM began 2019 under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram, who departed in February for the position as director of test at the Missile Defense Agency. Royar assumed command in June after serving as the deputy commanding general-support for the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He previously served as AMCOM’s chief of staff and said he and his family were happy to return to Redstone Arsenal.
AMCOM Deputy Commander Bill Marriott served as the organization’s executive director from March to June, between Gabram’s departure and Royar’s arrival. Marriott retired at the end of 2019, ending more than four years with AMCOM and 44 years of federal service. Marriott capped a 26-year career as a naval aviator by serving in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, Marriott continued to serve at OSD and then Army Materiel Command headquarters before taking his role at AMCOM.
AMCOM welcomed two of its employees to the Senior Executive Service ranks in 2019. Don Nitti, the director of AMCOM’s Logistics Center, was promoted in February. Geoff Downer, the director of AMCOM’s special programs (aviation), was promoted in October.
Col. Richard Zampelli assumed the chief of staff position, succeeding Col. Shawn Prickett. Nat Causey took the position of AMCOM’s chief counsel in November, coming to the organization from the Army Contracting Command.
Another AMCOM organization, Letterkenny Army Depot, Pennsylvania, welcomed Col. Greg Gibbons as its new commander in April. Gibbons, who previously served in Istanbul, Turkey, as the acting deputy chief of staff of the Combat Service Support NATO Rapid Deployment Corps, succeeded Col. Stephen Ledbetter.
In 2019, AMCOM realigned its initiatives and resources to support the Army Materiel Command’s seven strategic support areas that enable and support multi-domain operations – and include all facets of AMCOM’s mission, from Soldier and family readiness to equipment, installations and munitions.
“Our focus today and moving into 2020 is on sustaining materiel readiness, the future force and the human dimension that makes it all happen,” Royar said.
With a budget of more $3.7 billion and a global workforce of more than 15,000 military and civilian employees, AMCOM is a multi-faceted and diverse organization focused across the aviation and missile platforms.
Improving supply availability across these platforms has been a top priority. Supply availability encompasses the processes, leading indicators and leadership to grow the depth and breadth of the supply chain.
As a life-cycle management command, AMCOM purchases about $1 billion worth of aircraft and missile parts each year. The goal is to purchase the right parts in the correct quantity to sustain and enable materiel readiness.
“Our commitment and focus this year boosted supply-availability rates to the highest we’ve seen in decades,” Royar said.
Aviation supply availability rose by 4% in 2019, while missile supply availability saw a nearly 12% increase.
Progress in the supply-availability area means AMCOM can broaden its efforts toward reducing maintenance time, another key factor in readiness.
“AMCOM can help units reduce maintenance time in multiple ways, whether through eliminating unnecessary maintenance requirements to helping train Soldiers in the field. We owe that to commanders,” Royar said.
Logistics and sustainment is at the core of AMCOM’s mission and good data is a critical focal point.
AMCOM Logistic Center’s Materiel Management Directorate developed a multi-platform tool in 2019 to identify data incompatibilities. A data cleansing team reviewed materiel across aviation and missile platforms resulting in more than 45,000 data element corrections.
“This tool has assisted in streamlining the Materiel Requirement Planning process and significantly improves forecasting accuracy,” Royar said.
Ongoing efforts to harness AMCOM’s decades of data include a move toward machine learning and artificial intelligence.
“Every generation of software improves our data,” Royar said. “The more we incorporate new tools, we introduce more rigor, which increases both the quality of and confidence in our data.”
AMCOM’s Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Activity began a $32 million renovation of the Army Primary Standards Laboratory on Redstone Arsenal. This lab ensures accurately calibrated measuring devices that support every Soldier and weapon system in the Army. While the renovation will support future calibration needs, USATA has maintained a high availability rate, completing more than 310,000 calibration and repair actions in 2019.
This year also saw the completion of the Health Physics Laboratory renovation in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and the Nucleonics Area Calibration Laboratory at Redstone Arsenal.
At Fort Rucker, AMCOM’s Aviation Center Logistics Command oversees the Army’s largest aviation maintenance contract, which supports the Army aviation training mission.
“ACLC continues its tradition of support to every rotary wing pilot who comes through the Army,” Royar said. In 2019, ACLC facilitated the throughput of 4,500 pilots, supporting 600 aircraft.
Additionally, ACLC also supported more than 35,000 students training in field artillery and air defense artillery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and 514 students training on Shadows and Gray Eagles at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Letterkenny and Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, continue to provide industrial support, improving performance-to-promise rates while building resiliency and flexibility as they plan and execute new processes to increase efficiencies.
“Our workforce truly stretches across the country and around the globe,” Royar said. “We have diverse roles, responsibilities, talents and skills, but we can all find common ground in supporting our nation’s warfighters.”