Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

November 16, 2017 at 10:51am

Military readiness at JBLM

Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan holds a Javelin anti-tank weapon during a visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord to speak with military personnel about unit readiness, Nov. 14. Photo credit: Lisa Ferdinando

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Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan engaged leaders and troops on readiness, observed demonstrations of personnel and assets and heard about the successes and challenges in maintaining a ready force during a daylong visit here Tuesday.

Shanahan, whose events included briefings from Army Special Operations Command, as well as the 62nd Airlift Wing and the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, noted that readiness is one of the Defense Department's highest priorities.

The deputy secretary rode in a Stryker command vehicle in a convoy with the 2nd Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team; visited a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and its crew; observed Expert Infantry Badge training and testing; discussed maintenance operations with the 1st Cavalry Regiment's 8th Squadron; and saw how airmen are seeking to use 3-D printing for shop or equipment issues to save money and man-hours.

Challenges to Readiness

The joint base's Army and Air Force personnel also detailed the challenges to readiness. They talked about the long government processes that they said can slow innovation, delay repairs and obstruct readiness. Shanahan told them he would like to see changes in the processes to best meet readiness and the demands of the force.   

The visit here and his upcoming trip to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island are Shanahan's first troop engagements outside the national capital area since he took office in July.

Following his visit, Shanahan traveled on to Vancouver, British Columbia, to attend a U.N. peacekeeping conference, marking his first international trip as deputy defense secretary.

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