According to Commandment of the Marine Corps General Robert Neller, the Pentagon is to be blamed for the slow process of fielding new gear, as the current gear is worn-out and needs immediate replacement.
He further added that new equipment takes long enough to test and evaluate to be obsolete once it hits the ground. Neller was addressing the Navy League?s Sea-Air-Space exposition outside Washington, D.C.
He further added, ?As a customer, it just seems to be too slow. There may be good reasons for that, but we?ve got to go faster because we?re behind in many areas and we?ve got to get this new stuff in the hands of those that we have an obligation to support and make sure that they?re successful in whatever mission we give them.?
While acknowledging the fair competition and the ability for companies to protest decisions is important, Neller said that the Defense Department?s rules for the acquisition system become a major hurdle in getting the latest and most technologically advanced weaponry into our Marines? hands. According to him, the process needs to be evolved to ensure that the Marines and other service members get the gear on time.
?We?ve got an obligation to those men and women in our service to give them new gear as soon as we can because the gear that we have has been run really hard for the last 15 years,? he added.
It should be noted here that Neller?s comments were part of a panel discussion on Monday. Other guests included Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, Administrator of the US Maritime Administration Paul Jaenchen and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft. One of the members present at the discussion recommended that the Defense Department should simplify the process of new technology, as it requires hundreds of pages currently to make a request.
Neller responded to the suggestion saying, ?Fair enough. ?[But] once we agree on what we?re going to do and we receive the product, it?s got to work.?
He further admitted the fact that while military equipment is expensive, the Defense Department?s spending is not increasing. He added that the DoD needs to streamline the acquisition process and make sure that the industry is delivering the right equipment on time.
He added, ?We?ll have a conversation about that. If we?re not happy, don?t worry about it, I?ll tell you.?
According to Neller, The Marine Corps is currently training for the ongoing wars and the future wars to come, which is why he is urging the defense industry to create better simulators to train ground pounders. According to him, this should be something similar to holodeck, which is a virtual reality facility on Star Trek.
He said, ?That?s really what I?m looking for. How do we do that? Aviation has done a great job: You?ve got an individual pilot or aircrew in a simulator and they fly their mission. What?s the equivalent of that for a rifle company commander or an artillery battalion commander??