HELPING HAND: Soldiers from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, work together to overcome an obstacle at the Leader Reaction Course on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in March 2021 during the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade’s People First Week. Top among the Army acquisition executive’s priorities are the people who research, develop and test the materiel that Soldiers need. (Photo by Sgt. Sarah D. Sangster, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade)
FROM THE ARMY
DOUGLAS R. BUSH
Priorities for “the most significant equipment modernization effort the U.S. Army has undertaken in the last four decades.”
I appreciate having this opportunity to communicate regularly with the Army’s acquisition, logistics and technology community. This award-winning publication is a valuable resource in providing information to help our workforce professionals do their jobs even better. With this issue, I would like to share with you my top priorities as I take on my leadership duties and responsibilities.
Let me state at the outset that I am deeply honored by the trust the President of the United States placed in me by nominating me to serve as the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology; by the confirmation of my nomination by the U.S. Senate; and by the confidence placed in me by the secretary of defense and the secretary of the Army. It is a privilege for me to lead the Army acquisition, logistics and technology team in the early years of what promises to be the most significant equipment modernization effort the U.S. Army has undertaken in the last four decades.
My first priority is taking care of people, our greatest asset. The acquisition workforce comprises more than 33,000 professionals who see that policies are implemented and cutting-edge capabilities get delivered to Soldiers. (Back-to-Basics streamlined the number of professionals whose jobs were classified as acquisition positions from roughly 43,000 to approximately 33,000.) They do amazing work. We must ensure the appropriate processes and tools are in place—particularly in the areas of recruitment, development and retention—for effective talent management.
My second priority is to intensely focus on acquisition program execution that ensures rapid delivery of equipment to Soldiers. For many years, Congress has directed acquisition reforms on improving acquisition velocity while not forgetting the other important parts of acquisition—cost and performance. All are important, but speed has been the emphasis. I will base my decisions toward taking actions that prioritize speed in a responsible manner.
My third priority is to improve the Army’s policies and practices regarding the acquisition of software. With strong Congressional support, the Army now has more tools and authorities than ever to pursue software in a fundamentally different way, and many promising efforts are proceeding. I intend to accelerate and expand those efforts. (See related article, “The Cyber Experiment.”)
My fourth priority is to return the Army to a focus on security in acquisition, with special attention toward cyber and supply-chain security. Both are necessary to deliver capabilities uncompromised by the aggressive efforts of China, Russia and other countries.
My fifth priority is to ensure realistic operational testing is integrated into Army programs, including rigorous cyber testing. While testing can be expensive at times, more time spent doing effective testing upfront can pay huge dividends later and, more importantly, allow us to find problems on test ranges rather than in combat.
My final priority is to ensure that the Army’s modernization efforts are closely coordinated with Congress. Everything we do ultimately has to be supported by Congress doing its job to provide us with funding and oversight on behalf of the American people. The Army cannot achieve any of its modernization goals without the support of, and partnership with Congress.
In closing, let me state that it is a privilege to serve with you at this critically important time in the Army’s history.