Advancing Government: Developing an integrated, holistic approach to organic industrial base modernization

By Gregory Bowman, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Siemens Government Technologies

organic industrial base modernization

The Department of Defense is putting significant effort into modernization, —but how can those efforts be accelerated when adversaries are rapidly closing the gap in U.S. military superiority?  

Today, our nation faces challenges at a range and scale never seen before. From near-peer adversaries and terrorist organizations to cyber criminals and cartels, our military defends our homeland, allies, and partners from a myriad of complex threats. To stay ahead, our warfighters must have the most advanced, innovative, and effective technologies.  

However, the globalization of technology and rapid pace of innovation now allows our adversaries access to cutting-edge science, systems, and technologies. Our adversaries are striving toward technological parity, and rapidly closing in on U.S. capabilities. We risk being overtaken in key technology areas that only a decade ago would have been unimaginable.  

Maintaining technological superiority across an “all-domain” battle space underpins our national military strategy. It allows us to field the most potent, resilient, and rapidly innovating forces; requiring transformational strategic capabilities driven by scientific, technological advances at the speed of relevance.  This can only be achieved through a whole of government, whole of industry, whole of nation approach. And a critical part of this approach is the modernization of the Department of Defense (DoD) organic industrial base.  

The challenge of OIB modernization

The challenge of OIB modernization

The DoD manages a network of government-owned industrial facilities collectively known as the organic industrial base (OIB). These facilities consist of depots, arsenals, manufacturing plants, and shipyards that support critical military requirements, such as ammunition production, equipment storage and disposal, and the repair of vital weapon systems.

As a result, the OIB is essential to our nation’s security and readiness. It must be postured to support peacetime requirements, while also being agile enough to respond during mobilizations and emergencies. Yet, at present, the OIB faces a number of challenges, including aging infrastructure and equipment, workforce development and retention, and supply chain instability. It is for this reason that the DoD must fully modernize the OIB.

Strategies to rebuild and strengthen  

Recognizing this need, senior DoD officials have developed several modernization programs to ensure the OIB and our military remain ready and resilient. The Department’s strategy to rebuild and strengthen the OIB has four main areas: revitalizing the OIB infrastructure, improving OIB equipment modernization, developing and supporting the OIB workforce, and enabling continuous assessment and optimization.  

Already, DoD and the service branches have initiated major modernization efforts, including the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP), the Army’s 15-year OIB Modernization Implementation Plan (MIP), the Air Force’s 20-year Optimization Plan, and the 5G-to-Next G Initiative (5GI). And at the core of all these efforts, there’s a deep focus on digitalization. To be relevant for the U.S. military of 2035 and beyond, the OIB must undergo a holistic digital transformation, and it must do it now. 

Strategies to rebuild and strengthen

Invest, integrate, innovate  

The modernization of the OIB requires investment in integrated, flexible, and long-term digital solutions that can adapt to an unpredictable military and geopolitical future with speed, accuracy, and innovation. The DoD needs to develop and deploy a comprehensive OIB digital transformation strategy that is based on an open architecture framework that allows the integration of multiple systems, tools, and types of data. There must be an understanding that each OIB facility is different in its mission, assets, and workforce. 

The OIB’s modernization is not a “one-size-fits-all” policy or an “out-of-the-box” implementation. Rather, it must be based on a common platform in which everyone—leaders, warfighters, engineers, analysts, procurement officials, and maintenance crews—can access critical information, operate efficiently, and seamlessly collaborate. Specifically, the cloud is the foundation for this entire modernization effort. By leveraging cloud open architecture and using a comprehensive “platform-centric approach”, the DoD can support current unit readiness, maintain the ability to surge, and modernize for the next generation. 

Accelerate with Xcelerator

Many industries—not just government—are already using this approach to drive efficiencies, cost-savings, and innovation. For example, federal agencies, defense contractors, automotive manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, utility companies, and healthcare organizations are investing in the Siemens Xcelerator open digital business platform to accelerate their digital transformation and “future-proof” operations.  

Siemens Xcelerator allows organizations to integrate and use digital tools, software, applications and services (regardless of vendor) within a common digital ecosystem. The platform creates an open ecosystem where organizations can collect, analyze and visualize data within a single solution, while also enabling unprecedented collaboration and process transparency. Within Xcelerator are tools like Siemens Defense Cloud, a FedRAMP® Ready, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application suite that safely and securely digitally integrates people, data, processes, and systems across functional silos.  

Strategies to rebuild and strengthen
Strategies to rebuild and strengthen

Examples in the field

With a comprehensive and integrated digital platform in place, government customers can deploy different tools and software that enable specific modernization efforts within the OIB. Take for example how the U.S. Air Force (USAF) is using Siemens’ Teamcenter, part of Siemens Xcelerator, as the digital thread to support the agency’s entire product lifecycle management (PLM).  

With Teamcenter, the USAF is leveraging a comprehensive solution with an open and adaptable work environment that connects people, projects, systems, and data. As a result, new technologies are developed and onboarded much faster and products can be optimized through digital twin modeling with lower cost and risk.  

In fact, digital twin/digital thread technology represents a huge opportunity for OIB modernization. For example, the U.S. Navy is in the midst of a multi-billion-dollar optimization overhaul that is using modeling and visualization tools from Siemens to create digital twins of their public shipyards, unlocking new levels of detail for their current operations that in turn are being used to inform key investment and modernization initiatives for facilities that in some instances trace their history to the early 19th century.  

Disrupt or be disrupted 

Without the implementation of an  OIB digital modernization framework, our nation runs the risk of not being able to support, secure and strengthen our military in the future. OIB modernization strategies must be holistic; they must be digital-forward and cloud-smart; and they must be adaptable and ongoing. Simply put, the OIB must use digital technologies to “disrupt” our adversaries to ensure we are never “disrupted.” 

At Siemens Government Technologies (SGT), we help our customers respond to the tremendous challenges and unprecedented opportunities that our nation faces today and in the future. As a uniquely positioned cleared team that can integrate Siemens’ globally trusted products and services, SGT is well-suited to help the DoD with OIB modernization efforts.  

Learn more about how SGT can help OIB modernization efforts here

Gregory L. Bowman , Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Siemens Government Technologies 

Gregory L. Bowman, is the Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer of Siemens Government Technologies (SGT), Inc., the separate but affiliated U.S. government arm of technology powerhouse Siemens. Prior to joining SGT, Mr. Bowman served in the U.S. Army for more than 25 years—culminating his career as the Strategic Military Law and Policy Advisor/Legislative Counsel to the Secretary of the Army. Chosen to establish that position, he served two Secretaries and two Acting Secretaries of the Army for over seven years. At SGT, Mr. Bowman has served as Director of Large Integrated Programs (OCONUS), then Deputy/Chief Operating Officer of Energy & Infrastructure followed by Vice President of Strategy, Growth and Partnerships. Most recently, he served as Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Corporate Development. In his current role, he is focused on driving strategic growth by leveraging innovations from across the Siemens global portfolio to support U.S. government customers around the world. 

Read his full bio here

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Gregory L. Bowman