WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army’s strategy to modernize the organic industrial base is complete, and now the service’s materiel commander will brief it to Army leadership over the next month, followed by a trip to Capitol Hill to lay out the plans with lawmakers in detail.
Gen. Edward Daly, who leads Army Materiel Command, has been working on the organic industrial base strategy since he took over from Gen. Gus Perna in 2020. The strategy has been in the works for several years and will lay out a modernization plan to be executed over the next 15 years.
“The organic industrial base was designed and really implemented in World War II, and so what we have is really a 20th century capability to support a 21st century Army and joint force,” Daly said at a Feb. 1 virtual Defense Writers Group event.
The strategy aims to bring the base into the 21st century “and make sure we understand its purpose and its relevance and then attack in terms of an investment strategy along similar lines of effort,” he added.
The purpose of the organic industrial base is to support the U.S. “in times of conflict and crisis,” Daly said, with the ability to “surge to support wartime capabilities.”
This means during peacetime “it has to maintain this core capability and foundational skill set juxtaposed with, you know, robotics, investments in infrastructure, investments in computer program logic, really looking at our processes and making sure that it’s a 21st century capability to support not only the current equipment within the Army and the joint force, but everything we’re moving toward in terms of modernization,” Daly said.
This also means retraining and realigning the workforce, he noted, “so that they can remain relevant and essentially critical to the process.”
The Army is undergoing a transformation not seen in 40 years and is pushing to provide soldiers with modernized equipment and processes to operate across multiple domains against advanced adversaries.
This transformation is “unlike anything we’ve seen, and commensurate to that has to be the organic industrial base,” Daly said.
His command is made up of 175,000 people — a combination of military and civilian personnel as well as contractors — providing sustainment for military operations from the continental U.S. and throughout the world.
The organic industrial base is comprised of 23 depots, arsenals and ammunition plants in the U.S. with about a 30,000-strong workforce, Daly said.
As Daly prepares to present the strategy to Army leadership within the next 30 days and to brief lawmakers on the Hill, impacts of an ongoing continuing resolution and a possible extension of that looms large. Should a CR last throughout the entire fiscal year, “I will tell you that it would have very significant consequences as it applies to the organic industrial base,” he said.
“Obviously we wouldn’t be able to start any new work with regard to facilities modernization.”
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.