Senior Army official pitches Congress on divestitures

By Jaspreet Gill / March 10, 2020 at 10:19 AM

Army acquisition executive Bruce Jette told lawmakers last week the service is looking to divest hundreds of weapon systems that are no longer deemed useful.

At a March 5 House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee hearing, Jette said creating a divestiture agreement is one of the service's objectives this year.

The weapon systems "tend to be associated with lower-priority issues, which means they tend not to be looked at for replacement items along the road," Jette said. "We are making a significant effort trying to figure out how to get the same type of effort going against divestiture as we had going against" sustainment.

Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, added that a majority of the systems will be coming from Army Forces Command.

"We're asking units what equipment no longer leaves the motor pool, no longer leaves an arms room, no longer leaves a supply room, just because soldiers don't use it anymore," Murray said. "That's really the equipment we're focusing on, with input from soldiers, equipment they don't need to accomplish their mission."

The divestiture agreement will be modeled after the service's "transition to sustainment agreement," in which hundreds of Army weapons and platforms have been sustained for continued use, Jette said.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill [D-NJ] raised concerns about the service's transition to sustainment agreement during the hearing to Jette and Murray.

"In my conversations with [Army Materiel Commander] Gen. [Gus] Perna, there was some concern [with the] transition to sustainment, moving things out of the capability of updating them and investing in them and configuring them for modern use," Sherrill said.

Murray said it was a "long process" between Perna, Jette and himself, but they agreed on which weapons to transition to sustainment in the end.

"Transition to sustainment doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be further investments," Murray said. "There's always going to be investments to maintain the capability, the maintenance that's going to go into extending the life, et cetera. Fundamentally, and not necessarily in all cases, what transition to sustainment means is that there will be no further upgrades."