Guard Leaders Told: Prepare for War

Washington Report

(January 9, 2018) The Army’s senior logistician told National Guard leaders to ensure their units are ready for the next war because, wherever and whenever it is, it will take the total force to fight and win.

“Place yourself on the battlefield and work left,” Army Materiel Command’s Gen. Gus F. Perna said via teleconference to more than 400 leaders gathered Friday in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the Army National Guard’s Green Tab Commanders Conference.

Perna encouraged leaders to rethink the term “readiness,” according to an AMC release.

“If you get a call tonight, can you drive equipment from your motor pool to a train where it then goes to a port?” Perna asked.

Perna told leaders it was their responsibility to ensure their units’ soldiers, equipment, maintenance, supply and administrative activities are in order. Rather than focusing on reports and metrics, Perna urged leaders to think of their own organization in terms of its contribution to the total picture.

“I’m asking you to process readiness in a three-dimensional way, beyond reporting and statistics. We must understand ourselves, know what our mission is, and understand our training, maintenance, supply and administration,” Perna said.

At the AMC, Perna is focusing more on maintenance trends than fleet-readiness metrics, warning that fleet-readiness reports could be misleading.

“If we have 10 steps to make coffee and accomplish nine, that’s 90 percent,” Perna said. “But are we drinking coffee? The obvious answer is no.”

As the Army Materiel Command builds breadth and depth into the global supply chain, Perna asked for the Guard leaders’ help as the organization is moving 1.2 million pieces of equipment to better equip units.

Perna acknowledged that the shortage of equipment on hand is something the field is experiencing. By shifting 800,000 pieces of equipment, all units across the entire Army would be better than 90 percent equipped within the next two years.

Perna urged leaders called to participate to send their best equipment, keeping in mind the impact to the Army at large. The lateral transfers, he said, would mitigate equipment shortages across the force.

When it comes to divesting, Perna also encouraged leaders not to hang on to equipment they don’t need.

“We’re going to aggressively work this,” Perna said. “Don’t hold on to your excess. It’s not for ‘just in case.’ Think of what’s best for the whole Army.”