April 12, 2018
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), discussed the PIM program with the Honorable Mark T. Esper, Secretary of the Army, and General Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army in a SASC hearing this morning about the posture of the Department of the Army.
As prepared for delivery:
Inhofe: Another area that I'm particularly interested in, of course, is our artillery. The fact that other—both China and Russia have passed us up. In terms of range, in terms of rapid fire and right now, we are in a position—we are working on a system to correct that—the PIM program. Of course, I—in my opening statement—I talked a little bit about what's happened in the past with the Crusader, the Future Combat System. But, now we have this program that I think is going to put us in a position where we should be. Getting back up ahead of our adversaries. That's what we want to get done. Secretary Esper, can you articulate what your number one priority is for modernization to meet the new National Defense Strategy. Let's start with that.
Esper: Yes, Senator. The Army has outlined six modernization priorities beginning number one with long range precision fires and the sixth being soldier lethality. With regard to long-range precision fires, we are pursuing technologies at the tactical, operational and strategic level. So, at the tactical level, as you mentioned—the PIM program is very important. At the operational level, it's the extended-range cannon artillery. And at the strategic level, it would be hypersonics, the ability to really reach deep and in support of the Navy and Air Force to do that.
I will tell you that as I've traveled the Army in the four and a half months and spoke to a few combatant commanders, they've also conveyed to me the importance, the criticality of long-range precision fires to their respective war fights.