Army Acquisition Executive Meets With Congressional Foil
PARIS — The U.S. Army’s acting top acquisition executive said June 12 that part of her job at the Eurosatory defense trade show was to “reaffirm our commitment to our allies” while helping to build bridges between the U.S. defense industry and international partners who are “looking for opportunities to collaborate” on programs.
Heidi Shyu has been the acting assistant secretary of the Army for acquisitions, logistics and technology since last year. Her confirmation is being help up by Sen. Tom Coburn, who is unhappy with the Army’s handling of its M4 carbine competition. When asked about the situation, Shyu confirmed that the two met last week and said that she and Coburn “had a very good dialog” where she laid out the Army’s small-arms acquisition strategy.
She said that several U.S. defense companies have approached her office to help them export their products to allies, and she said that she is assisting them “to take a look at helping export to our closest partners.” Increasing exports from American manufacturers would not only help the domestic industrial base, she said, but it would also increase the capabilities of American allies while increasing the commonality between coalition weapons systems and vehicles.
Speaking of the U.S. defense industrial base, Shyu warned that both the Pentagon and industry are going to have to “adapt to a new era of constrained resources” while at the same time modernizing everything from communications equipment to ground vehicle fleets to light weapons systems.
Her list included increased soldier protection, armor and improved mobility for ground vehicles. She also mentioned the need to develop both new virtual training simulations to save on training costs and more robust capabilities to counter and detect chemical and biological weapons threats.
All of this must come as the overall load that soldiers carry is lightened and energy is used more efficiently. In short, Shyu said the Army’s science and technology investments must provide “decisive overmatch for our soldiers” even as budgets flatten or decrease.