WATERVLIET, N.Y. — The four-star general who commands the Watervliet Arsenal and 22 other U.S. Army arsenals and depots says he would like to pump more money into the local operation.
General Gustave “Gus” Perna, the head of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, made the comments Monday after touring the Arsenal’s cannon tube production facilities. It was Perna’s first visit to Watervliet since taking over the Materiel Command in 2016.
Spectrum News was the only local TV news station allowed inside for the general’s historic tour — the first such media access at the Watervliet Arsenal in more than a decade.
“To come here and see the actual workforce do the work that contributes to [the Army’s] readiness, is incredibly important for me,” General Perna said after his hour-long tour. The general looked on as a new 122-mm Abrams tank cannon was heated over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and forged into its elongated shape. He also reviewed a precision steel bending operation for the Arsenal’s experimental new weapon: a 40-foot, long range cannon tube that the Arsenal hopes to sell to the Army and begin producing within three years.
Perna was visibly impressed by what he saw in the Arsenal. He could be seen saying “wow” from across the production floor as he watched the bending operation.
“This facility provides the best capability to our soldiers,” Perna said when asked about the future of the Watervliet Arsenal. “I actually like the comfort of having this … great workforce producing these cannons for our Army. It allows us to control and maintain the workload, but surge to meet any requirement.
“What I’d like to do is continue to put more money into this facility,” Perna went on, “to improve the machinery … to ensure this workforce has the best equipment to provide the best capability.”
In his short tenure as a four-star Army general, Perna has called on Washington to approve “predictable and consistent funding.” He repeated that call on Monday, urging Congress to pass its federal budget on time. Already, President Donald Trump has proposed adding more than $50 billion to the national defense budget.