• Gen. Dennis Via, USA, commander, Army Materiel Command, discusses the worldwide threat and the need for cybersecurity at TechNet Augusta.
     Gen. Dennis Via, USA, commander, Army Materiel Command, discusses the worldwide threat and the need for cybersecurity at TechNet Augusta.

Supporting Readiness Worldwide

August 4, 2016
By George I. Seffers
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U.S. Army enhances pre-positioned stocks around the world.

The Army Materiel Command (AMC) is modernizing and deploying pre-positioned stocks in Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific to ensure the service can rapidly and effectively respond to threats as they occur. Those so-called activity sets include the latest in communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) equipment.

In Europe, for example, the Army decided to make changes to its pre-positioned stockpile of equipment following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The existing activity set in Germany was upgraded from a battalion-sized equipment package to a brigade set for use by the First Cavalry Division, Gen. Dennis Via, AMC commander, told the audience at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference taking place in Augusta, Georgia. Now, the service is establishing a second armored brigade activity set, which includes fires, engineer, sustainment, aviation, communication and ISR assets so that if we do need to respond quickly, our forces can do so,” the general said.

In all, the service is establishing eight activity sets around the world over the next few years, he added. Those sets enable U.S. forces and partner nations “to participate in multinational training exercises and contingency operations with increased responsiveness and decreased performance timelines,” he explained.

“We’re also in the process of establishing activity sets in the Pacific realm, similar to those in Europe, however, tailored to the area of operation and the mission that U.S. PACOM conducts,” he said, connecting the increased support activity to the continuing pivot toward the Pacific region.

The AMC also is supporting the Army Field Support Battalion-Africa, which “receives, maintains, stores and issues Army pre-positioned stocks,” he said.

Additionally, the Materiel Command continues to support Army forces in Afghanistan.

Gen. Via addressed the conference from a unique perspective: a four-star signal officer, a rarity in the Army. As such, Gen. Via understands the importance of cybersecurity to the AMC mission. “From my perspective, it’s unmistakable that the cybersecurity of our logistics, maintenance, manufacturing and enterprise resource planning systems are essential, in fact critical, to the overall readiness of our Army and the joint force,” he said. “Our access and use of networks and information technologies are critical enablers for virtually all levels of logistics as our military is called upon to confront current and evolving threats around the world.”

The command’s mission, of course, relies on networks, information technology and data. “We’re constantly assessing our vulnerabilities. We have to ensure the logistics data we provide to commanders is accurate for forecasting and delivering resources,” he offered.

The general laid out the various threats around the world, including Russia, China, North Korea and terrorist groups such as ISIL. And he suggested the AMC’s high activity level illustrates the dangers. “We’re busier now than at any time since I’ve been in command,” adding that he has commanded AMC for four years and was the deputy commander for about 16 months before that. “When I deputy commander, we were supporting two wars. But we’re busier today than at any time since I’ve been in command, and that just tells you what’s taking place around the world.”

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