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Modernizing at the speed of relevance: An interview with Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy


As the 33rd Under Secretary of the Army, Ryan D. McCarthy is leading the way in building readiness for the future. Between his experiences as a proven industry leader and his proud service as an Army Ranger, McCarthy is now transforming the way the Army does business. Army Sustainment Magazine sat down with him to discuss the new Army Futures Command and the role sustainment will play in the Army’s modernization efforts.

Q: Why is it time for the Army Futures Command?

A: If you look at the past 17 years of conflict, in large measure the Army invested against irregular warfare and counterinsurgency-type combat operations. We’ve focused on this significant national security challenge that our country faces, and these asymmetric threats will probably be ongoing for the rest of my life. But during that same time period, near-peer competitors have made significant strides in the growth of their economies and their military modernization. When you look at it from that standpoint, there’s a balance we need to achieve to deal with different threats.

Considering the speed at which technology is moving in the world today, we have an industrial age model of how we do business. We’re slow, and we have a lot of people weighing in on decisions. Our authorities and responsibilities are spread out across all of our major commands, and we don’t have formalized relationships. This leads to incremental growth, and it’s hard to get business done. With the speed of innovation in the world, we can’t keep pace with vendors and then scale a concept to an institution the size of a country. We have to get faster.

How do you get business done? You know people. You know what their equities are, what’s important to them, and how to get things moving. If you look at the way we’ve organized the Futures Command, a lot of it is fusing people together so they have formal relationships and greater collaboration and can move information faster to get an outcome quicker.  Read more

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Modernizing at the speed of relevance: An interview with Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy