September 2012: Driving an Army

TACOM’s Warren facility continues to drive Army

By Amanda Lee

Pages 13-14

While Southeast Michigan rightly became synonymous with the moniker the “Arsenal of Democracy” during World War II, the proud legacy can sometimes lead to misconceptions about the level of innovation still occurring in the region’s defense industry.

The U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) headquarters in Macomb County
serves as one of the best avenues of bringing cutting-edge technology, equipment and supplies to the warfighter on the 21st century battlefield. It stands as a leader in the defense industry for the development, acquisition, fielding and support of ground and soldier equipment.

“We are the center of excellence for the ground combat vehicles and support the majority of the equipment in a Brigade Combat Team, which is our basic maneuver formation in the Army,” TACOM’s Major General Michael J. Terry said. “With our partnerships with TARDEC and the Program Executive Offices: Ground Combat Systems, Combat Support and Combat Service Support and Solider, and academic and industry, we are constantly researching, developing and fielding the latest technology – never losing focus of why we exist – to support the soldier, our most precious resource.”

“Our mission is to develop, acquire, field and sustain soldier and ground systems for the warfighter through the integration of effective and timely acquisition, logistics and cutting-edge technology.”

While headquartered in Warren, TACOM LCMC has over 24,000 personnel at more than 100 locations worldwide, including seven total U.S. locations. Of that number, the 170-acre Warren location has 7,887 full-time civilians and contractor employees and 236 military members. TACOM’s total annual command payroll is over $2.4 billion dollars. Its contracting center executed over $16 billion in contracts in fiscal year 2011 – with a lot of that money staying right here in
Southeast Michigan.

As an LCMC, TACOM works to transform soldier and grounds systems, providing the Army and the U.S. Department of Defense with more flexible and versatile combat capability within a more adaptive and responsive management structure.

“Simply put, we support a diverse set of products throughout their life cycles, from combat and tactical vehicles, armaments, watercraft, fuel and water distribution equipment, to soldier, biological and chemical equipment,” said Terry, who noted TACOM manages more than 2,000 major and 34,000 secondary items for the Army.

“TACOM has been at the forefront of ensuring Army readiness for nearly 70 years and has constantly been evolving during this time,” he said. “Our roots go back to World War II’s Arsenal of Democracy in Detroit. That was when, in 1941, the first M3 Lee Medium Tank was produced at a Detroit Arsenal tank plant here in Warren.”

Despite that legacy, there are no shortage of challenges as the nation debates cuts to forces and defense spending heading into a presidential election.

“The Army and TACOM LCMC are in the midst of a major ongoing transformation of our product, processes, people and culture. The revitalization of our industrial base facilities is one of our key current initiatives. Our stakeholders, the American public, need to understand the value of the work we perform.”

As the defense industry awaits key budget decisions by the federal government, Terry said the U.S. Army has been the beneficiary of ample resources over the past decade, which helped place the country’s major weapon systems at the highest readiness rate in history. He added that funding has been there to support more than 1.1 million soldiers who have deployed to combat during the past 10 years.

“As our Army continues to perform unified land operations around the world, we will ensure we are postured to support future requirements when and where called as we await future budget decisions, which will most likely have an effect on the Army,” he said. “The fiscal reality is that we will get smaller. How we do it is the hard part.

“Setting priorities and channeling resources will be the next step in our efforts to ensure we provide the capabilities that our force needs in the future,” he continued. “I believe we will be facing some challenging times, but our Army and TACOM will continue to execute our mission requirements based on the guidance provided by our senior leaders.”

Terry stressed that TACOM will continue to ensure those at the facility are “wise stewards” of the resources they are entrusted with. He said that TACOM has achieved validated cost efficiencies of $138 million in fiscal year 2010 and $151 million in fiscal year 2011.

“Some of the key operational challenges we see facing us and the defense industry include maintaining employee critical skills sets, and ensuring we maintain a viable and responsive industrial base in a time of constrained resources,” he said. “We are also facing industrial base challenges, such as identifying requirements in the out years, workload alignment, balancing commercial and organic capabilities, rightsizing the industrial base, and maintaining and sustaining the roles and missions of our depots and arsenals.”

Amanda Lee is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.

September 2012: Committed to Excellence

New TACOM LCMC commander committed to warfighter

By Amanda Lee

Page 12

The value of innovation is never more apparent than on the battlefield where the American warfighter puts his or her life in peril to defend their country and way of life. Few operations play a more prominent role in providing for those soldiers than TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) in Warren.

The TACOM LCMC gained new leadership as Major General Michael J. Terry took over command in a formal ceremony on June 21 at the Detroit Arsenal.

“My top priority is always providing support to the soldier. It’s the reason this command exists,” he said. “The soldier is at the center of our TACOM LCMC mission and vision statements and we’re organizationally aligned to get soldiers what they need, when they need it and where they need it.”

“The TACOM motto is ‘committed to excellence,’” he continued. “We like to say ‘if a soldier eats it, wears it, drives it or shoots it … TACOM LCMC develops, supplies or sustains it.’ We have always and will continue to always lead the way to keep them safe.”

Terry succeeds outgoing commander Major General Kurt J. Stein, who served as TACOM’s commanding general from January 2010. Terry previously served at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, where he was the commanding general of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

“Mike has plenty of sand in his boots and knows what it takes to support our warfighters,” said U.S. Army Materiel Command  Commander General Dennis L. Via, who officiated the ceremony in June.  “He has the experience, vision and passion to position TACOM for exciting years ahead.”

Terry, a native of Pennsylvania, received his commission and a Bachelor of Science degree in law enforcement from the University of Scranton in 1979 and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He is married and has three children.

For his part, Terry says TACOM’s place in the defense industry has never been more important.

Terry said he is excited to be at the helm of TACOM and eager to build partnerships throughout Southeast Michigan.

“I am very excited about our involvement in the area, the partnerships we have formed, the career opportunities we provide and most of all, the heart of our people who always lead the way in support and volunteer efforts for events where and when needed,” he said. “We are and will continue

to be an integral part of the team and look forward to the continued success and working relationship with our community partners.”

While TACOM is focused on helping the Army take innovation to another level, Terry says TACOM’s current operation goals aren’t much different than they have been in years past.

“The background of the TACOM LCMC is steeped in the World War II industrial mobilization of the United States,” he explained. “Even before the start of World War II, Army and business visionaries came together and built the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, what would soon become synonymous with the Arsenal of Democracy.

“Seventy years later, the Detroit Arsenal, home of the TACOM LCMC, is still at the forefront of providing our modern day warfighters with the equipment they need to fight yet another global conflict,” he continued. “From the very beginning through today, the mission of the TACOM LCMC has remained constant. For 70 years, our command never lost sight of our primary focus – our soldiers.”

Amanda Lee is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.