Industry, Army leaders collaborate on future combat development
By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /
The Mobile Protected Firepower Industry Day, hosted by the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Aug. 9 in Derby Auditorium brought industry and Army leaders together to talk directly about combat development and requirements.
“This was the first time this has been done,” said Col. William Nuckols, director of the Mounted Requirements Division.
Industry days are usually hosted by the acquisition core community and are generally hosted in places like Detroit. Nuckols explained that Industry day was done at Fort Benning because it supports the acquisition reform that is coming out of Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
“Maj. Gen. Wesley’s (commanding general of the MCoE) intent was for (Fort Benning) to become the place where requirements for the Army are pushed and he wanted to do industry day here. The chief of staff of the Army (Gen. Mark Milley) agreed. He sent Lt. Gen. John Murray, the Army’s G8, to Industry Day,” said Nuckols.
“We’ve been pushing an effort to try to collaborate earlier and more closely with industry. That is a cultural change that we are trying to make,” said Nuckols. “Now we have to stay in the bounds of law and Army regulation and joint regulations, so we are careful to do that. Frankly, we rely heavily on our acquisition core partners to make sure we are doing it right, so we learned a lot.”
The MPF Industry Day brought in 59 companies, each of which were properly vetted and provided with a draft of the Capability Development document.
“We did that for a couple of reasons. We want to know what their ideas are. How would they solve the problem and what might they recommend in terms of our requirements, because it is a draft and we want them to see it while it’s a draft, because they have different perspectives and different ideas,” said Nuckols. “We think it will make our requirement documents better, which will ultimately result in fielding a better piece of equipment, like a better combat vehicle for our Soldiers.”
Nuckols emphasized that the relationship between industry and the Army is mutually beneficial.
“The benefit to industry is they understand much earlier in the process and in better detail what it is we are trying to do as an Army, so they clearly understand the gap that we are filling, and what we want the combat vehicle to do within the formation in which it will reside,” said Nuckols. “They can go back and talk to their engineers and designers. They can start work earlier on the solution to our request, which benefits them and it benefits us.”