Lockheed Martin facilities in Camden, Ark., are part of a critical regional aerospace and defense ecosystem throughout Southern Arkansas.
William LaPlante, undersecretary of defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, Doug Bush, visited critical manufacturing facilities in Camden for producing High Mobility Rocket Systems and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.
“As we continue providing security assistance to Ukraine, we are working with industry to accelerate production of critical weapons and systems,” LaPlante said. “This includes providing funding to buy more equipment, expand production lines and support additional hiring and workforce development.”
In working to strengthen partnerships with industry, LaPlante highlighted opportunities to address complex production requirements and issues of obsolescence, as well as to speed contracting processes.
“We have received nearly $400 million dollars to replenish HIMARS and GMLRS in DOD stocks,” LaPlante said. “In addition, we are planning nearly $200 million to expand and accelerate production and are anticipating contract awards this fall and early next year.”
The visit followed the announcement of nearly $3 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, released Aug. 24. As the largest support package to date, it represents a sustainable, multi-year investment in critical capabilities to ensure Ukraine can continue to defend itself over the long term. Unlike the Presidential Drawdown, which DOD has continued to leverage to deliver equipment to Ukraine from DOD stocks at a historic pace, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry.
“We will continue to closely consult with Ukraine on capability needs — and as President Biden has said, our goal is straightforward: The United States wants to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression,” LaPlante said. “In all of these efforts, I hope it is clear there is, and will continue to be, a strong demand signal for all of our partners in industry.”
LaPlante and Bush also took the opportunity to recognize the significance of the workforce, highlighting the impact their efforts are having on the battlefield. Currently, Ukraine is effectively employing the lightweight mobile launchers and precision-strike munitions produced in Camden facilities to target key Russian capabilities as well as logistics and command and control nodes.