JMC commander hosts town hall in midst of fiscal uncertainty
October 10, 2013
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The Joint Munitions Command is under new command. It's a new fiscal year, but old worries carried over.
Following the October 1 federal shutdown that took many employees off the clock, back on the job doesn't mean back to business as usual.
During the Oct. 9 town hall, Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, commander, addressed her workforce nationwide (some by live video streaming) speaking directly to the very real challenges both she and the command face. The town hall was not only her first at JMC but probably one of the most important.
Fiscal Year 2014 began with a federal shutdown. With the current lapse in federal appropriations, the focus shifts to mission essential functions.
"I know that the bottom line is the money is gone, the financial constraints are out there and we have to figure out how we can best support our core mission: munitions support to the Joint Forces with what AMC (Army Materiel Command) and Army has provided us.
"We will continue to work on that and posturing ourselves for success. And that's going to be a lot of hard work from a lot of folks across the command," said French.
French detailed the path forward in FY14. Before addressing her five priorities, she began with an update on SHARP, (the Army's sexual harassment/assault response and prevention program) emphasizing the importance of training, proper reporting and making sure awareness of the program reaches every part of her command.
French then outlined her five priorities: Munitions logistics support to the Joint Forces, Shaping JMC support to the Joint Forces, Transition in the face of future uncertainties, Safety, and Taking care of military personnel, civilians and their families.
-- Munitions logistics support to the Joint Forces
"Everyone is agreeing that we are focusing more and more on our core capabilities and that is something the entire workforce has to focus on. We cannot think that we're going to be able to bring in work that we are not trained to do or don't have the capacity to do.
"We can't build more systems in our organizations. We have to stay with our core capabilities -- and that is across the entire Army that we're pushing that. So it's important to focus on core capabilities," she said.
-- Shaping JMC support to the Joint Forces
French made it clear JMC has three components to its mission.
"JMC's mission is really (receipt), storing, and issuing munitions -- and making sure that we do everything with regard to the life cycle and support to the Warfighter. I will tell you that we're doing a great job, and I'm really proud of the sites and what they're doing," she said.
-- Transition in the face of future uncertainties
"The Army is changing and I've said this to some people, but just to reiterate: the Army is going down from 570,000 to 490,000 Soldiers in the next about 20 months. 80,000 active duty Army Soldiers will be either separated (or not assessed into the Army) in the next 20 months. There is no way that the civilian workforce or the contract workforce can stay the same number as they are today. We have to properly resize, reshape our headquarters (our civilian and contract workforce) to be proportional to the drop in the active duty military workforce," added French.
"Without a doubt, we're in a dangerous business. I knew we were in a dangerous business but then as I started peeling back the onion, visiting our sites, seeing how they operate day-in and day-out; with some of the ways they have to do their mission because of the safety policies…I just would tell you, I'm thrilled with our safety numbers and how we're keeping our numbers down. Right now, the numbers are really low which is good for incidents but they're happening all the time.
"There are some workforce safety issues and there's some off duty safety issues. The important thing is we provide the training, facilities, the equipment (personal protection equipment) and all the things that we need to do to make sure that we are providing a safe environment for our people.
"Safety is crucial in all we do," said French.
-- Taking care of military personnel, civilians and their families
"There are so many avenues to reach out for help, for assistance, for comfort -- for support. I would tell you that, again, I've been in a community before (several assignments now) that I've had a predominantly civilian workforce. There are a lot of people who don't want their business out in the street; they want to keep it in their family or in their own house.
"I would ask you to rework that and know there are so many assets out there that can provide support to family members, to DA civilians and to the military," she said.
Finally, French addressed questions from the workforce, thanked them and reassured that as requirements and guidance change she will continue to provide updates.
From its headquarters in Rock Island, Ill., JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. Government agencies, and allied nations.