GM’s New Military Defense Division Hires Retired US Army General


It's no coincidence the guy previously headed the US Army's Test and Evaluation Command.

Exactly one year ago GM revealed a new and highly advanced vehicle platform designed to handle military-specific configurations. The platform is called the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure, or SURUS, and unlike previous military vehicle focused platforms, this one features a hydrogen fuel cell system and autonomous capabilities. It’s also capable of high-performance and produces zero emissions. Impressive. But what will this platform eventually underpin?

Excellent question and GM is actively working on this. According to Automotive News, the General has just hired an actual General. More specifically, retired US Army Major General John Charlton. Charlton will shortly begin serving as President of GM Defense LLC, based in Washington D.C.

The CEO of this GM subsidiary is Charlie Freese, who has not only worked for GM for 15 years but is also an expert in fuel cell technology. This isn’t the first time GM has been involved in the defense industry. Back in 2003 it sold its previous defense division to General Dynamics Corp. for $1.1 billion.

Jump ahead to today and based on the potential the SURUS platform has to offer (pictured here), it’ll be fascinating to see what Charlton has in mind. After all, this is a guy who’s been around. He served in the army for 34 years and completed three combat tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan, and served in staff positions on the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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In addition, he also served as a commanding general for the US Army Test and Evaluation Command. Clearly GM has the right guy. Another interesting military-type concept vehicle GM revealed was last year’s Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 hydrogen fuel-cell electric truck. Chances are it won’t enter production as a military combat vehicle, but it offers yet another preview of what GM Defense has in mind.

GM has been testing it in various settings and some of its technologies, like having clean drinking water drip out of its tailpipe, could wind up being used in the coming years. Overall, it sure sounds like GM Defense wants to develop autonomous and electric vehicles for America’s future soldiers.

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