Last updated: March 24. 2014 7:04PM - 1545 Views
By Heather Rutz hrutz@civitasmedia.com

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LIMA — The Joint Systems Manufacturing Center is preparing for a high-level Defense Department officials’s visit, Lt. Col. Matthew Hodge said Monday.

Hodge, commander of the JSMC, spoke to the Lima Rotary Club on Monday, talking about how he transitioned from a combat officer to a career on the business and acquisition side of the military. He also gave a brief history of the government-owned, privately operated JSMC.

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall will visit the facility in early April, Hodge said. Hodge couldn’t provide a specific date because of security reasons.

“All things bought or made by the Department of Defense, he has oversight of,” Hodge said. “There’s a great discussion about the tank industrial base that’s going on currently. He’s coming here to get eyes on the great work we do at the JSMC, and I’m looking forward to the tour and showing him the great work we do.”

There is Abrams tank work at the JSMC slated through December of 2015, but the facility is in a tenuous position. The Pentagon wants to shutter the plant until a new designed and engineered update to the Abrams is ready for production.

“If work does materialize, he will know Lima is the place to do it,” Hodge said.

The Senate confirmed Kendall in May of 2012. Kendall is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for all matters pertaining to acquisition; research and engineering; developmental testing; contract administration; logistics and material readiness; installations and environment; operational energy; chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; the acquisition workforce; and the defense industrial base. He is the leader of the Department of Defense’s efforts to increase the department’s buying power and improve the performance of the defense acquisition enterprise.

Hodge took over command of the JSMC in August 2013. Hodge comes to Lima from Hawaii, where he served as 603rd senior contingency contracting team leader and executive officer, 413th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Shafter. Hodge has nine years of experience as a combat arms officer and 10 years of experience with the Army Acquisition Corp.

General Dynamics operates the center, which is part of the Army’s Defense Contract Management Agency. The JSMC is the only place in the country where the Abrams battle tank is built.

On Monday, Hodge said he and his family continue to enjoy living in the Lima area, where they’ve found a welcoming and patriotic community.

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