A New Name, A New Era — 1976-1989
At the same time that AMC was moving into its new headquarters facilities, the Army was scaling down its activities worldwide. A special Army Materiel Acquisition Review Committee on April 1, 1974, recommended that independent development and logistics organizations be established to improve management of both acquisition and readiness activities. As a result, AMC was designated DARCOM on Jan. 23, 1976, to symbolize the change to a more corporate structure.
The DARCOM Commander, Gen. John Deane best summed up this effort: "We wanted to change our philosophy of how we do business and also change the attitude of the people in the command. We wanted to emphasize that readiness is a part of our business."
As part of this reorganization, the commodity commands formerly managed by AMC were broken into separate commands for research and development and readiness.
The Big Five
During the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, DARCOM focused much of its energies on the what became known as the "Big 5" – the Apache, the Black Hawk, the Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and the Patriot missile system. Other notable items that were introduced into the Army inventory during this time were the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), the Kevlar helmet and body armor, the Battle Dress Uniform (BDUs), the MK19-3 40 mm Grenade Machine Gun, and the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).
On Aug. 1, 1984, it was announced that DARCOM had shortened its name back to the Army Materiel Command or AMC to "remove a perceived boundary between development and logistics support implied in the DARCOM name" and because the brevity and clarity of the name AMC "will be better understood by allies and the general public." Interestingly, most of the commodity commands that had been broken apart when DARCOM was created had already been put back together.
The AMC Song
AMC's own military march was born the next year. On May 23, 1985, "Share The Pride," written and composed by the Army Band, was presented by the AMC commanding general, Gen. Richard H. Thompson, to the work force at Recognition Day ceremonies at the command's headquarters. The song linked the history of the command to music by incorporating music from the technical services that had formed the basis for establishment of the command in 1962.
The End of AMC's Project Management
The Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986 greatly changed the basic structure of AMC. An Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition was established with a Military Deputy. In addition, the Under Secretary of the Army was named the Army Acquisition Executive. In 1988, some 47 Program Managers transferred out of AMC and into the Secretariat/Program Executive Office structure. AMC was removed from the direct chain of command but had responsibility to support the project managers through matrix management.