WASHINGTON — It’s a time-honored tradition on bases across America and around the world.
Every Monday morning, many units descend on their vehicles for “motor pool Monday” — a preventive maintenance blitz where soldiers do routine checks and services on their unit’s transportation assets.
And, according to the Army’s chief of staff, it might not be the best use of time.
“We’re servicing our vehicles too much, is the bottom line,” said Gen. Randy George during a Monday press conference at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting. “We got all the [chief warrant officer] fives together — maintenance warrants — and by making some simple common-sense changes, it’s going to reduce the workload by 632 man years. That’s a lot of man years.”
George linked the changes to other moves he hopes will help units clear up their motor pools and be able to spend more time on training rather than turning wrenches on unused equipment. The chief said he recently tasked a study group to review property books and equipment authorization documents to determine what excess materiel the Army can dump.
“All the things we’ve had through the years that has slowly been added to property books that we…wouldn’t need in a fight moving forward, we’re taking that off the plate,” George said. He noted that different types of units will have differing dividends, but anticipates the returns for the Army will be “fairly substantial.”
A pilot equipment review program is underway at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Fort Liberty, North Carolina, the chief added.
Overall, George said he believes the move to reduce excess maintenance and derelict equipment will “reduce the complexity for our company commanders in our communities.” That would enable them to focus more on training management practices that take care of their soldiers, he argued.
As for the equipment deemed to be in excess? George said the Army is still “figuring it out,” but the first move will be warehousing the gear while experts weigh different disposal options ranging from destruction to stripping parts or even refurbishment for storage as war reserve equipment.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army. He focuses on investigations, personnel concerns and military justice. Davis, also a Guard veteran, was a finalist in the 2023 Livingston Awards for his work with The Texas Tribune investigating the National Guard’s border missions. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill.