By Ellen Mitchell
HUNTSVILLE, AL — The Army is still deciding what equipment being pulled out of Afghanistan will remain funded and what will be scrapped, as the service contemplates how to cope with the possibility that overseas contingency operations funding will decline, according to the Army’s top acquisition official.
Service acquisition executive Heidi Shyu told Inside the Army that Army Materiel Command is currently assessing how much of the OCO dollars now used on maintenance will have to be migrated into the base budget, as well as what equipment to retain after it is removed from Afghanistan.
Shyu said the Army is missing information about some of the equipment. “We don’t own any of the technical data packages, there’s no logistics information regarding it, no support information,” she said in a Jan. 15 interview. “A lot of the time you don’t even have requirements well defined. So what do you do with all these systems?”
The lack of technical data for quickly fielded systems has become a problem for the military. After a decade of relying on commercial providers for technology and know-how on hardware systems, information technology, communications and electronics, the Defense Department finds itself left with a large variety of equipment it may not know how to use.
That the Army is still struggling to determine what systems should still receive funding once U.S. troops are out of Afghanistan is notable, given that an end to the war has been on the calendar for several years.
About $30 billion worth of equipment already has been removed from theater, which includes around 44,000 vehicles and 107,000 containers, according to an AMC spokesperson. Less than 5,000 vehicles remain in Afghanistan now, as well as less than 1,000 containers.
Shyu said the next step is to “figure out how much of the stuff that we have that’s funded by OCO today” should be transitioned into the base budget. She was not able to give an end date for the assessment and said it was ongoing.