Army Aviation

Sustainment and Ensuring Army Survivability

President’s Cockpit / By MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired: As a young combat engineer and later as an Army Aviator, I dwelled in a world focused on tactics, maneuver, and taking the fight to the enemy. Maintenance and sustainment were important to me, but it was often somebody else’s problem.

Dr. F. Harold “Hal” Kushner VP Member & Family Wellness / AAPI FILE PHOTO

What a rude awakening I got as a new battalion commander. Sustainment was MY responsibility, and I had lots to learn!

Later as a brigade and division commander at war, I found myself often consumed with battlefield logistics and maintenance as well as future sustainment of my formations and their equipment. I came to realize the truth of that old axiom: in war, armchair warriors use little hands on big maps to spout off tactics and strategy; true masters at the profession of arms focus first on logistics to ensure success.

In this issue we provide that needed focus on sustainment. AMCOM Commanding General MG Todd Royar delves deep into the data challenges we have in Army Aviation – almost a case of too much of a good thing. He indicates how three initiatives will help us sort through the unimportant to find the critical data to improve readiness and long term sustainability: ACN to GCSS-Army linkage, Modular Open System Architecture, and Digital Thread and Advanced Manufacturing. Aviation Branch Maintenance Officer CW5 Mike Cavaco dives even deeper into the data issue by discussing the capabilities and challenges of two current systems in place now: the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command’s (AMCOM’s) WebDesk and the AMCOM Message Tracking System (AMTRACKS) software applications. As he notes, “both provide valuable situational awareness at the enterprise level providing units input to timely and accurate information, however both are extremely stove-piped.” And as he concludes, we need to ensure any new data system should supply information to enterprise levels as well as provide relevant and valuable information for unit level leaders to make sustainment decisions with. Finally, AMCOM CSM Mike Dove gives us the why, what and how of the “digital twin.”

We also provide focus on survivability in this issue, and our Branch Chief, MG Dave Francis leads off with a discussion on achieving survivability against a near peer threat through a combination of aircraft survivability equipment, TTPs and fighting as a combined arms team, a force very familiar with synchronizing lethality across a multi-domain environment. He receives supporting fires from the Aviation Mission Systems and Architecture team as well as the USAACE Aviation Mission Survivability and ASDAT teams.

Both sustainment and survivability are particularly appropriate for this issue as we continue to optimistically plan to hold our “live” Cribbins Training, Equipping and Sustainment Symposium at Huntsville, Alabama 16-18 November, followed by our annual AAAA Aircraft Survivability Equipment Symposium 7-8 December in Kissimmee, Florida.

We have some important recognitions that we make in this issue: Army Aviator Brigadier General Joseph Edwards II departs division command of the 104th Division to assume duties at Headquarters, Department of the Army, G-9. Congratulations General Edwards! And we also highlight the incredible flying and accomplishments of seven aviators and crew members of the California National Guard, who recently were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses by the President of the United States. Their story is truly amazing!

We at AAAA are always doing our best to remain relevant to our membership and our branch. Last month I formally announced the appointment of Colonel (Retired) and Doctor Hal Kushner, Army Aviation Hall of Fame inductee and former POW, as our very first AAAA Vice President for Member and Family Wellness. Doctor Kushner will provide advice to the AAAA board on how to safely conduct AAAA planned events and adopt best practices in accordance with national, state, and local protocols and procedures to help contribute to the health and safety of the Association members and families. He will also serve as the professional medical liaison to outside organizations, activities, and agencies.

Stay healthy! As always, I pledge to ensure that AAAA does its part to help YOU: our soldiers, families, and senior leaders!

MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired
34th President, AAAA
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