The nominee to serve as the Army’s next under secretary said during his confirmation hearing Tuesday he supports the service’s push to field new long-range fires capabilities and views investments as complementary to the other services’ deep strike weapons roles in the Indo-Pacific region.

Gabe Camarillo, who previously served as the principal deputy assistant secretary in the Army’s procurement office from 2012 to 2015, said the Army’s future long-range fires systems will specifically play an important role in potential Indo-Pacific operations as a means to break through adversaries’ Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) capabilities.

Gabe Camarillo, nominee to serve as the next Army Under Secretary

“I’m encouraged by the investments that [the Army] has been making in this area, to include the development of the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon and a Precision Strike Missile that can exceed 500 kilometers in terms of its range and accuracy and lethality. These and other investments, I think, are very critical to address the threats and the gaps [in the Indo-Pacific],” Camarillo said. “In the INDOPACOM region, the Army will play a very important role in terms of providing that land-based, long-range fire capability to help degrade any A2/AD defenses that we encounter in the region.”

During the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, lawmakers pressed Camarillo on whether the Army’s long range fires push could lead to redundant investments and overlapping roles with the Air Force and Navy in the future Indo-Pacific.

“There are some who argue that investments being made by the Army and the Air Force in long-range weapons, whether hypersonics in particular, are duplicative. On the other hand, people like [Air Force] Gen. [John] Hyten, [vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], have argued that these investments are complementary and that there’s value in having multiple ways to hold adversary targets at risk,” said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).

Camarillo said he believed capability development should be assessed in a joint perspective, noting the Army’s use of long-range fires to penetrate A2/AD environments will open up operational pathways for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in the Indo-Pacific.

Gen. James McConville, the Army chief of staff, made similar remarks recently when asked during a Center for Strategic & International Studies discussion if the service’s emphasis on long-range precision fires modernization could potentially duplicate the Air Force’s fighter and bomber capabilities and result in increased budget risk (Defense Daily, March 30). 

“When we take a look at long-range precision fires, we don’t see that in competition with the great job that the world’s greatest Air Force does as far as striking targets deep. To me, this is about providing options to a combatant commander; options from the land that gives them the capability to, in some ways, to deter with strategic counter-fire or suppress air defense or strike ground targets through a different method and, quite frankly, not necessarily putting pilots at risk,” McConville said at the time.

Camarillo also told the panel the Army must “strike the optimal balance” between working on on systems that meet current operational capability gaps and threats and those that will serve the Army “well into the future,” while also adding he will work to ensure development remains on track for the service’s more than 30 signature modernization programs. 

“If confirmed, my goal would be to work with Secretary Wormuth and the acquisition community in the Army to make sure that we get those capabilities developed and that we can field them to give our soldiers the decisive advantage that they need,” Camarillo said. “And, certainly, I would share the view that those remain the priorities, and I would continue to work with the Army leadership on that issue.”

Camarillo, a current senior vice president at Science Applications International Corp. [SAIC], was nominated for the Army under secretary role in July (Defense Daily, July 13).