Armor & Mobility

MAR/APR 2017

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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Another challenge is ensuring our first deploying units have the best equipment. Dur- ing the past year we redistributed more than 290,000 pieces of equipment to fill shortages. This has resulted in a 15 percent increase in the number of brigade combat teams report- ing they have their required equipment on hand. A&M: There is renewed interest in European strategic security; what are you doing in that arena? Lt. Gen. Piggee: Recent geo-political developments have led to emerging instability on the European continent. This has driven us to refocus our strategic priorities and realign our military planning and force presence throughout the world. Our commitment to our allies is a vital part of our national strategic security, and as a world leader among nations, our partnerships are critical to enhancing stability throughout the world. At the end of the Cold War, as part of the "peace dividend", we drastically reduced our presence in Europe. Years ago, we removed our heavy armored capability from the conti- nent. But now we are seeing a return of those capabilities, with the initiation of back-to-back rotations of a brigade combat team to partner with our allies in train- ing and to maintain a force presence as a deterrent to any threat. I recently spent some time there, and saw first-hand the great work that is going on. This rotation of forces gives our Army the chance to familiarize many of our units with the unique challenges and situ- ational awareness of the European Area of Operations. And since it is treated as an operation from start to finish it tests our plans, capa- bilities, and leadership with the result of improving our readiness, and that of our allies, to respond should a serious threat materialize. These operations assure our allies and deter potential aggressors. A&M: Please speak to some of the complex threats the Army is dealing with, and how does this impact Army sustainers? Lt. Gen. Piggee: There has never been a more diverse array of challenges -- from where we will fight wars, to how we will fight them, to whom we fight. This is a period of historic change. In the headlines every day, we see continued instability in the Middle East, with massive numbers of people leaving, and the consequences of that around the world. We see challenges in Europe, with Russian aggression. In the Pacific, we see the rise of China and the continued instability of North Korea. And we see technology challenges. Rivals may not currently have greater capability than ours, but they are developing highly lethal capabilities at a rapid pace. So our past advantages on land, air, at sea, in space and cyber space, are all at risk. At the Pentagon, we cannot just be caretakers. We have to change. For sustainers, in particular, we are working to ensure we have the right force structure, and the resources to refurbish and repurpose the equipment on hand and to modernize our fleets. We are working to make certain we have sufficient munitions to fight emerging threats, that our Army Prepositioned Stocks are stored in a ready to fight configuration, and that our depots and arsenals have long-term funding to keep operational lines open. A&M: What is the Army doing to reduce its excess materiel and equipment and is there a renewed focus on lightening the load of Soldiers? Lt. Gen. Piggee: We have had a renewed focus on lightening the load of the Army as a whole. One of the things we have undertaken is a campaign to reduce excess materiel. We have changed our policies making it is easier for units to turn in equipment so we can redistribute overages to where it is needed or remove excess materiel from inventory. We do not want Soldiers spending time and resources maintaining obsolete equipment that we will not use again. As far as Soldier load, getting the right mix of equipment to indi- vidual Soldier weight ratio is critical. One third of a Soldier's weight is considered an optimum combat load. Weight began to rise during the World Wars, and in recent conflicts it climbed all the way up to 80 percent for some Soldiers. The reasons behind giving our service members more and improved equipment are sound ones. Advanced capabilities provide them with decided advantages over enemies, be it in added protec- tion, enhanced weapons capabilities, improved command and control of friendly forces across increasing larger battle spaces, the ability to better see the battlefield, or to sustain themselves longer in combat. Features that increase comfort, improve health, provide advanced protection, power our technologies or provide for unique, new func- tionality are all good; but there is a price to pay when you carry all that equipment. It is detrimental to mobility. It can itself be a cause COMMANDER'S CORNER Armor & Mobility | March/April 2017 | 5

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