ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The Army is changing the status quo when it comes
to critical technological equipment and maintenance processes, the service’s top official
spearheading the change reports.
“The sustainment community wants to embed itself in the requirements process for new
systems to get ahead of timelines,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Edmonson, leader of
Communications-Electronics Command, which is charged with a myriad of critical
command-sustaining measures including computers, communications, cyber, intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
“What we’re doing is we’re embedding ourselves further left in the process. We’re getting
engaged in the Army Requirement Oversight Council, Army capabilities boards and many
others, and we are ensuring that our capabilities and our requirements are clearly understood
and codified early so that we can plan appropriately to deliver that capability at the point of
need,” he said in a Nov. 2 interview. He warns that it’s not a conversation that is had the day the
need arises, but several years in advance.
He also distinguished that under the Army’s new readiness model — Regionally Aligned
Readiness and Modernization Model, or ReARMM — he is tasked with critical resourcing
Named the “Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model,” the plan is to deploy
Army units to different military locations in different parts of the world in roughly one year, giving
them hands-on expertise in the diverse parts of the world to which they could potentially deploy
during an actual conflict, allowing them to proactively stockpile the right equipment for those
“We have decisions to make under ReARMM. We have deliberate decisions to make with
regard to units that are modernizing inside of a certain window and units that are deploying
inside of a certain window,” he explained. “That’s going to allow us inside of CECOM to target
our efforts to program our resources to be much more deliberate and precise in the readiness
that we’re providing to units.
Further, he said, ReARMM allows CECOM to identify today’s maintenance requirements and
modernization priorities under a single model to make sound decisions about what to eliminate,
adding it is paramount for the several-year budgeting cycle.
As the Army aims to improve its sustainment capability, Edmonson said he is appealing to the
community to determine how it might sustain commercial off-the-shelf equipment differently than
it currently does.
“We need to understand more of that commercial off-the-shelf capability, and we need to be
able to build ourselves into what we’re going to want to look like tomorrow,” he said, highlighting
that these capabilities will strengthen the Army’s capability armory of the future.
After an ardent long-standing focus on counterterrorism over the past two decades, the
sustentation of critical technological equipment and communications has been an afterthought.
Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit, warns that technological superiority on
an ongoing basis is integral to the United States “maintaining its edge against other nations,
such as China.” In fact, he foresees critical drawbacks in being unable to innovate quickly
enough to address threats from China, the world’s leading creditor and second-largest economy
in the world.
Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National
Security Agency, and chief of the Central Security Service reassures that what he’s seen
firsthand in terms of capability and dedication to the mission is unparalleled. He believes
strongly that service men and women deserve the best tools to do their jobs to ultimately keep
It’s mission-critical that the U.S. not become complacent or think it has a competitive edge on
technology and innovation. And while the changes are progressing satisfactorily, the primary
focus still remains on investing and recruiting unbeatable talent. Without those two, Brown
warns Americans “may not like the outcome