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Army Leaders to Create New Command to Fix Modernization Woes

Replacing the Army's Cold War-era major weapon systems is the top task for a new command formed through a sweeping reorganization of the Army's modernization effort, senior leadership announced today.

Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy has approved a special task force to stand-up the new command. Designed to consolidate the processes of Army modernization, that group will oversee everything from prototyping to fielding mature systems.

"I have tasked Lt. Gen. Ed Cardon to lead a 120-day taskforce to frame and present decisions about the ultimate form and function of the new command," McCarthy told a group of defense reporters at the Association of the United States Army's 2017 annual meeting.

The command's modernization work will be conducted through "cross functional teams" that focus on each of the of the Army's six modernization priorities -- long-range precision fires, next generation combat vehicle future vertical lift, a mobile and expeditionary network, air and missile defense capabilities and soldier lethality.

The concept of the reorganization embraces rapid prototyping and engages warfighters at the beginning and keeps them engaged throughout the process, Army leaders maintain.

Another part of the effort is aimed at taking a hard look at the Army's talent management, which McCarthy said was "first and foremost a leadership issue."

McCarthy described the effort as critical if the Army wants to field modern system that are more effective than the outdated Abrams tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, the Black Hawk helicopter, the Apache gunship and the Patriot missile defense system.

"They were designed in the 70s, fielded in the 80s and battle-tested in the 90s during Desert Storm and the invasion of Iraq in 2003," he said. "These systems have been continually and incrementally upgraded since their debut, but there is a limit to the incremental improvements that can be made before they no longer offer the real world overmatch our Army requires."

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley described the effort as the only way the Army can ensure that its modernization -- or future readiness -- efforts result in success.

"Our current readiness remains our number-one task, but we have to shift gears a little bit because future readiness matters," Milley said. "There are no sacred cows; we have to be willing to have the courage to make change as necessary; we have to adapt."

This is the largest reengineering of the Army in four decades, Milley said.

"This is going to be a banner year; our objective is to get these organizations stood up by summer of 2018," Milley said. "This is necessary, it's important and I absolutely believe that unless we do this we will be increasingly losing ground against potential adversaries."

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