Although operating under budget constraints can be challenging, restrictive spending can also spur innovation and new ideas to solve problems, a top Army acquisition officer said during a Sept. 16 visit to Picatinny Arsenal.

Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson, the Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, said the Army will continue to look for ways to be efficient and maximize taxpayer dollars.

"If we start looking at some of the funding constraints, I think it creates an opportunity for innovation," the general said.

"And so whereas we might have not looked at some other ways to do business, I think this kind of pressure allows us to explore a little further out ways to be innovative and find new solutions to old problems."

Williamson met with senior leaders and received briefings on a variety of programs as part of his visit to Picatinny, which is the Joint Center of Excellence for Armaments and Munitions.

During an interview, Williamson praised the close working relationship among the various program executive offices and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

"It absolutely amazes me how well they work together," the general said. "There is a lot of real close cooperation. It's probably some of the best that I've seen."

Assessing the challenges during a period of pressure to hold down federal spending, Williamson said modernization must continue while still being able to bring capabilities to the Soldier.

"As we're coming out of 13 years of war, there is this belief that there a lot of things that we cannot do," he said.

"Whether that's affected by force structure, whether that's affected by cost or funds available, or a combination of the two, what I would argue that the world remains a very dangerous place. There are still going to be requirements for us to deploy and use our Army.

"The biggest challenge to us is how do you do that in this environment? How do you still provide everything that the nation expects its Army to do under some of the constraints?"  

"When you start looking at a force structure drop that can take you down 100,000 Soldiers, you still have requirements out in the field," he said.

"As an acquisition person, we want to try to maximize technology," the general added.

Williamson said the acquisition community has become more agile and quicker in responding to requirements in the field.

"What you've seen over the last 13 years is that when a threat has been identified, our ability to deliver a capability very quickly is really measured not in time but in Soldiers' lives," he said.

"Because if there is a threat and we take too long to respond to that, then Soldiers are wounded, Soldiers are potentially killed and we are not able to accomplish the mission. And so it's the time factor that means the most to us at this point. "

As for career development, the general advised against always seeking that "perfect" job.

"Do the job you have right now to the best of your ability and people will notice that. You will learn, you will gain experience and it will prepare you for the opportunities that will be out there."