US Army Material Command

In the early 1960s, the Department of Defense (DOD) initiated a study examining how the Army's organizational structure responded to changes in the threat environment. It was called the Hoelscher Report. The report recommended the creation of a "materiel development and logistics command." The US Army Materiel Command (AMC), a Major Army Command (MACOM), was conceived to be that command, and since its activation in August 1962, it has been the focus of many major organizational changes. The new command, which replaced the 185 year-old system of individual supply (Technical Services), came into being under the direction of Lieutenant-General Frank S. Besson, Jr. (SEE CHART I).

Chart 1 - Formation of the Army Materiel Command

AMC was organized initially into five commodity major subordinate commands (MSCs); Electronics Command, Missile Command, Munitions Command, Mobility Command, and Weapons Command; and two functional MSCs; Supply and Maintenance Command (SMC) and Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM). In addition, 36 project manager (PM) offices were established to manage the development of major weapons systems and equipment.

In July 1966, the Supply and Maintenance Command, which was responsible for stock control, storage, distribution, transportation, repair parts management, and emergency planning, was merged with HQ, AMC. This created directorates in the Headquarters dealing with supply, maintenance, and transportation; international logistics; data automation; and operational readiness. The merger affected field programs as well. Depots and installations that had reported to SMC now reported to HQ, AMC. Procurement detachments were created in New York, Oakland, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Chicago. New PMs were established at MSC levels. Ammunition plants were also reactivated for the growing needs in Vietnam, while some installations (Erie Proving Ground and Dickson Gun Plant) were closed.

In 1969, General Ferdinand J. Chesarek, AMC's second commander, initiated a major realignment of HQ, AMC in response to a Department of the Army (DA) manpower survey calling for personnel reductions. A third deputy commanding general was added while the chief scientist was elevated to deputy level. The number of PMs was cut back, as the MSC’s role in monitoring PM activities increased. Finally, the commanding general's span of control was decreased, and the MSC commanders and deputies were provided greater latitude in their specific areas.

Manpower cuts resulted from the drawdown in Vietnam and from general cutbacks in Federal employment. From 1970 to 1973, AMC lost, overall, 34,856 civilian spaces. There were also cuts in military personnel. Reductions were handled through attrition and one-for-five replacement hiring. (SEE CHARTS II and III)

In 1973, AMC consolidated a number of its commodity commands. This reorganization was part of the Total Optimum Army Materiel Command, the Department of the Army's Baseline Development and Utilization Planning Project, and the Army reorganization of 1973. The Department of the Army approved AMC's plan to bring together Electronics Command elements at Fort Monmouth; consolidate the Munitions Command and Weapons Command into the Armaments Command; and reconfigure the Mobility Command as the Troop Support Command. Other mergers and consolidations took place as well. (SEE CHARTS II, IV and V).

General Henry A. Miley, Jr., became AMC’s new commander on November 1, 1970. He was heavily involved in the ongoing AMC reorganization. General Miley believed these changes would keep AMC "ahead of the power curve" as Army-wide reorganization, consolidation, and base closures continued. The Secretary of the Army charged the Army Materiel Acquisition Review Committee (AMARC) with making recommendations on how to improve the Army materiel acquisition process. While praising consolidations and cutbacks in AMC, AMARC called for extensive personnel cuts in a system it considered over-managed. AMARC also called for developing separate research and readiness centers.

On 12 February 1975, General John R. Deane, Jr., became the next AMC commander. He began implementing AMARC's recommendations. AMC was designated the US Army Development and Readiness Command (DARCOM) on 23 January 1976 to symbolize the change to a more corporate structure. DARCOM increased from six commodity commands to eleven. The eleven increased to thirteen by January 1979, as electronics and communications functions were split three ways. (SEE CHARTS IV and V) The International Logistics Command was organized in 1975, and its missions were transferred in 1977 to the newly created Security Assistance Center. General Deane called for a study on how to shape the Headquarters best to relate to the changes made elsewhere in AMC.

Because of the Study To Align AMC's Functions (STAAF), the Headquarters staff was cut from 2,138 to around 1,400. Some spaces were deleted and others were transferred to the field. The emphasis in the Headquarters was on policy, programs, resource allocation, and performance. This decentralization transferred a number of functions to the MSCs. The STAAF group explained the organizational changes being made and the trade-offs that would be required in the way DARCOM was to do business, including the possible risks. When the command later decided that it had gone too far in shedding resources, AMARC Revisited was instituted as a means of monitoring both development and support activities.

The SMC merger and STAAF changes gave more direct responsibility over the wholesale supply system to HQ, DARCOM. In keeping with AMARC's philosophy of decentralization, DARCOM established the U.S. Army Depot System Command (DESCOM) on 1 September 1976 to bring a centralized form of command and control closer to the depots. (SEE CHART II). AMARC's emphasis on development paid dividends with the some 400 weapons and other items of equipment brought through the early development stages in the 1970s. It was a whole new generation of Army equipment. However, the command did not work for long under the new organizational structure as the relationship between readiness and development commands soon began to chafe.

"AMARC Revisited," initiated by General John Guthrie, began to rejoin the scattered commodity commands and to increase its authorized strength. (SEE CHARTS II, IV, and V). HQ, DARCOM's fiscal year 1978 baseline study calculated that DARCOM needed a total of 137,157 personnel and that it was short 21,631 authorized spaces in materiel readiness positions, and 330 at Headquarters. Because of the study, resources available to DARCOM began to increase. From 1979 to 1984 "AMARC Revisited" resulted in a reconciliation of the commodity commands and the elimination of the many problems created by AMARC when implimented by General Miley.

In August 1979, a study group recommended a productivity improvement concept called the Resource Self-Help Affordability Planning Effort (RESHAPE), which sought to meet command baseline manpower requirements through greater use of overtime, overhire, streamlining, personnel incentives, reduced layering, merger of duplicate organizations, and proliferation of automation. (SEE CHART II) Personnel authorizations were increased for DESCOM and HQ, DARCOM. The intent was to reestablish the technical expertise that had been effectively removed by STAAF.

When General Donald R. Keith replaced General Guthrie in 1981, he continued the efforts initiated by the former Commanding General. The commodity commands were recombined under his command, and DARCOM-Europe was established in 1982 to centralize command and control and reduce costs in Europe. Matrix management policies keyed newly introduced weapons systems to staff managers. Finally, General Keith oversaw the implementation of the Carlucci Initiatives for acquisition reform. These initiatives helped reshape the Army acquisition process.

Under General Richard H. Thompson (1984-1987), the command continued to shed the AMARC legacy by adopting a more military structure at HQ, AMC. Directorates were renamed Deputy Chiefs Of Staff. General Thompson changed the name DARCOM back to the US Army Materiel Command (AMC). (SEE CHART II) DARCOM-Europe became AMC-Europe. The US Army Laboratory Command (LABCOM) was established on 1 October 1985 by merging some HQ, AMC staff with personnel from the former Electronics Research and Development Command based at Adelphi, Maryland. General Thompson did this to bring together AMC's research laboratories. In April 1986, AMC-Far East was established in Korea to provide centralized management and control of AMC elements there and provide more effective liaison and support to the Eighth Army.

In 1987, General Louis C. Wagner, Jr., following the Packard Commission recommendations, saw most of AMC's PMs transferred to a newly created Army Acquisition Executive (AAE). Program Executive Officers (PEOs) were directed to report directly to the AAE, each given authority over PMs in a particular field. HQ, AMC and its MSCs provided advice and assistance to the PEOs. These changes impacted all AMC elements involved in materiel development and acquisition. General Wagner used Total Quality Management (TQM) to make AMC more efficient in the wake of these changes.

In September 1989, General William G. T. Tuttle, Jr., inherited a command adjusting to major functional changes with declining resources that became ever more prominent for AMC because of changes in the international environment. General Tuttle initiated a detailed functional analysis of AMC in order to determine what it did, how it did it, and what could be done differently. Like his predecessor, General Tuttle dealt with TQM, conducting a variety of studies designed to improve efficiency.

During this time, AMC was affected by a number of Army Defense Management Reviews, while various Base Realignment and Closure Commissions (BRAC) caused AMC to restructure and downsize. Between 1987 and 1991 these actions resulted in a command-wide reduction in force (RIF), followed by a 30 percent reduction in the Headquarters authorized staff.

The Headquarters reduction was accomplished through attrition and personnel reassignments rather than by RIF. Later, considerations were made for the reorganization of MSC structures that included a planned consolidation of all AMC industrial activities - depots, ammunition plants, and arsenals - in a new Industrial Operations Command (IOC) at Rock Island Arsenal. Troop Support Command (TROSCOM) and the Aviation Systems Command (AVSCOM) were to merge in place in St. Louis, Missouri, forming the Aviation and Troop Command (AVCOM). The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) would replace the current Laboratory Command. (SEE CHARTS IV and V) Other realignments followed. In the end, AMC proved that its focus on realignment and downsizing had not significantly affected its mission – support to soldiers in the field. During the early part of the new decade, HQAMC supported not only Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, but also the victims of Hurricane Andrew.

On 31 January 1992, General Jimmy D. Ross assumed command of AMC. As a former AMC Chief of Staff, DESCOM Commander, and DA DCS for Logistics, General Ross had an intimate knowledge of AMC and the changes AMC needed to make. The downsizing of the Army and the nation's shift in defense posture to CONUS-based power projection made it imperative that AMC redefine and refocus itself to meet the demands of the future. General Ross defined a vision and three core competencies for AMC and its various components: Logistics Power Projection, Acquisition Excellence, and Technology Generation and Application.

With the Army stationed in 72 countries in September 1993, logistics power projection was especially important to AMC. AMC refined the Logistics Support Group (later Logistics Support Element (LSE)), took over the management of war reserve and operational projects stocks from the theater commanders, and worked massive equipment retrogrades from Southwest Asia and Europe. Acquisition Excellence was promoted by a highly successful series of "Road Show" presentations of new concepts in acquisition to the field. Simulation was introduced as a way to improve as well as shorten the acquisition cycle by using virtual prototyping and technology.

By 1995 most of the reorganization and force reductions had been made, and like the rest of the Army, AMC was reduced to a size operating with less than half of the strength it possessed during the 1980s. There were 40 percent fewer maintenance depots, no supply depots, and a major reduction in management overhead. AMC effected its reductions through divestitures, RIFs and voluntary retirements. (SEE CHARTS II and III) The most notable divestiture was the transfer of the supply depots to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Where these measures did not work RIFs and separation incentive programs were used.

General Leon E. Salomon assumed command on 11 February 1994. During his tenure, AMC continued to downsize. Reductions were accomplished in a variety of ways: BRAC mandated closures and realignments, RIFs, voluntary separations, and retirements. General Salomon continued emphasizing AMC's three core competencies, especially that of technology. AMC's breakthroughs included accomplishments in "smart" munitions, global positioning fuses, heavy-lift rotor blades, optical automatic target acquisition, and combat identification. In Acquisition Excellence, General Salomon pushed AMC to simplify and expedite the development, testing, and acquisition processes. The Roadshow program was continued. More importantly, AMC reduced the length of the time it took to procure and stock items, while streamlining the proposal process and improving the simulator testing procedures.

Logistics Power Projection was becoming ever more important for AMC. The business approach to assets enabled managers to see what the Army owns, uses, stores, and transports. Some of these assets were prepositioned onboard ships and deployed in strategic theater locations, ensuring the rapid delivery of ammunition during conflict. Steps were taken to retain AMC's critical industrial base.

AMC made great strides toward privatization through partnerships with industry and academia. Ideas on how to reduce acquisition constraints, build a stronger base, use the best commercial practices, and minimize future operations and support costs were explored.

AMC continued to re-engineer and streamline its organization, look for new technologies that would give soldiers the edge in future conflicts, and acquire and maintain systems at a minimal cost to the taxpayer. It consistently reviewed its logistical support systems to ensure that the Army could power project anywhere in the world. General Salomon stated, "AMC is committed to remaining relevant to the challenges of the future, responsive to the future needs of our soldiers, and ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Our primary customer, the soldier, deserves nothing less."

General Johnnie E. Wilson assumed command on 27 March 1996. Previously, he had served as AMC Chief of Staff from June 1992 to January 1994. General Wilson's tenure was marked by changes in the organization as a result of BRAC actions, Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) directives, and new mission assignments. A major change in the command was the establishment of the US Army Aviation and Missile Command on 1 October 1997, formed by the merger of the US Army Aviation and Troop Command at St. Louis, Missouri, and the US Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Other changes included the Product/Project Manager Transfers to AMC, which involved 19 PMs, and going from 9 to 7 Program Executive Officers (PEOs). New missions assigned to AMC included the transfer of Signal Organization and Alignment to AMC, and the assumption of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Missions included logistics oversight of property held by the US Army Center of Military History Museums Division and the assignment of AMC to lead in the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Program. BRAC-generated decisions directed closeouts of the Stratford Engine Plant, the Detroit Army Tank Plant, and Vint Hill Farms Station in 1997. Operations at Red River Army Depot were scaled back through mission transfers and privatization.

AMC continued to downsize, working toward a QDR-directed target employee population of 53,599 civilians and 1,518 military by the year 2000. In response to the challenges posed by an aging work force and the limited recruitment of new skills, General Wilson supported civilian personnel initiatives that provided greater flexibility in the recruitment of a younger, higher skilled work force. These initiatives included simplified hiring, a lengthened probation period, skill/leader training, pay and skill binding, industry and government exchange, employee contracts, separating the linkage of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/ Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VERA/VSIP) normally associated with RIF, phased retirements, and team performance recognition. General Wilson initiated AMC Inspector General sensing sessions to evaluate workforce morale regarding the impact of downsizing on the command. He also supported a diversified workforce. AMC maintained diversity within the command population in spite of civilian workforce reductions that were in excess of 50 percent of that in 1989. (SEE CHARTS II, IV and V)

In order to develop a blueprint addressing changes directed by the QDR, General Wilson called former AMC commanders together for a day-long consultation and strategy session held on "Alumni Day" at the end of May 1997. The participants identified 40 issues to be addressed by General Wilson. He also kept AMC responsive to the needs of industry. He hosted a Small Business Conference on 12 November 1997, and showed small business leaders the wide range of opportunities available to them at AMC. He continued AMC's outreach through executive meetings, Advanced Planning Briefings for Industry, conferences such as the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Atlanta Series, and meetings of the Association of the US Army held in Washington, DC; Orlando, Florida; and Los Angeles, California.

General Wilson retained AMC's three core competencies of Technology Generation and Application, Acquisition Excellence, and Logistics Power Projection, and emphasized their synergy. He stated, "We must achieve a modern and superior war-fighting capability by inserting our current technologies into our weapon systems. With declining budget, we cannot achieve superiority solely on development and procurement of weapon systems." General Wilson continued to pursue acquisition reform and sponsor acquisition roadshows. As a result of Wilson’s involvement, roadshows focused on all three of AMC's core competencies. AMC tested and implemented new technologies and continued to hone its Logistics Power Projection capabilities even as General Wilson retired on 26 April 1999.

On 14 May 1999, General John G. Coburn assumed command of AMC. A champion of the Revolution in Military Logistics (RML) and the Combat Service/Combat Service Support (CS/CSS) Transformation, General Coburn moved vigorously to prepare AMC to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Readiness and communication were key.

General Coburn implemented effectiveness-based reorganizations at Headquarters and in the field. He redesignated the Industrial Operations Command (IOC) as the Operations Support Command (OSC), with the Field Support Command (FSC) and its field support centers intended to provide one-stop logistics points for soldiers. He realigned Headquarters so that the Deputy Chiefs of Staff for Resource Management; Logistics; Ammunition; and Research, Development, and Acquisition (DCSRDA) reported to the Deputy Commanding General, increasing attention on the integration of the competencies. He pushed strategic planning at Headquarters by developing an Office of Strategic Affairs with an SES chief to look beyond the near-term problems to shape AMC to support the future force. General Coburn championed resource issues critical to warfighter readiness, challenging the 1997 QDR "endstate" of manpower and dollars and seeking the reallocation of resources to AMC so the Command would be postured to meet the Army's transformation need.

AMC managed the field evaluations and released the Request For Proposal (RFP) for a family of Interim Armored Vehicles. It demonstrated the Single Stock Fund, a re-engineering initiative to consolidate retail and wholesale elements into a single fund, and saw the first two milestones implemented on 1 November 2000. As part of the Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program, General Coburn assumed oversight and integration authority for the Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-A) Tier One to ensure a seamless wholesale-retail system. The command completed the worldwide implementation of the Integrated Sustainment Maintenance Program (ISM) and was named the manager for the National Maintenance Program (NMP). General Coburn identified and championed the fleet-based recapitalization program (M-1, Apache, Bradley, MLRS, etc.).

General Coburn continued to refine organizational support. On 1 October 1999, the US Army Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM) transferred from AMC to the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC). General Coburn met with Forces Command to ensure that warfighters' concerns were met. General Coburn also identified arsenals and depots as key national assets, and he oversaw the transfer of commodity-related depots and Pine Bluff Arsenal to their related MSCs. Originally begun under General Wilson, the purpose of this action was to assure adequate support to the field Army and other Services. He increased his dialogue with Congress, concentrating on illuminating AMC's contribution to Army Readiness. He sought to revitalize the AMC workforce and address the increase in retirement eligibles by implementing a fellowship program for professionals, an apprenticeship program for industrial skills, and an intern program for college graduates.

As AMC moves into the new millennium, the lessons learned by each previous commander will help guide each new commander, as AMC remains the "Army READINESS Command . . . Serving Every Soldier Every Day."

US Army Material Command

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