Senior Army leaders visit Radford, Holston ammunition plants
September 7, 2012
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Two of the Joint Munitions Command's sites that primarily deal with producing material inside of ammunition, recently hosted two top Army leaders.
Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general, Army Materiel Command, and Lt. Gen. William N. Phillips, the Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Security of the Army of Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, visited both Radford and Holston Army Ammunition Plants on separate trips.
Via visited Radford Aug. 29, to receive briefings and tours on the installation. He toured the nitrocellulose production line and powerhouse, as well as solventless propellant production area.
The tour also provided the opportunity for candid conversation with employees.
"We must have open communication about our challenges and not be afraid to discuss them," Via emphasized. "Strategic messaging is critical to sustaining the industrial base."
Via stressed demonstrating to the warfighter the combat relevance of the industrial base and its effects on warfighter systems, commander's missions and overall products.
"We must demonstrate our strategic importance to MACOMs [major Army commands] outside the warfighter community - for example the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command and the industrial base's ability to support foreign military sales," Via said.
He also emphasized JMC's support to the Joint community, not just the Army, which is key point many people overlook.
Via continued the discussion with focus on the future of the industrial base from modernization to identifying weaknesses.
"Let's ensure we are developing a long term modernization strategy to include ensuring government-owned, contractor-operated [facilities] lay out their top five issues for the future; identifying and focusing on single points of failure; ensuring process efficiencies, quality of work environment (QWE), and safety are incorporated in our strategies," he explained.
Of equal concern across the industrial base is its aging infrastructure.
"Ensure planning for contingency events is emphasized, especially as it relates to aging infrastructure. Focus here should be on reporting procedures, updated surveillance plans, and strategic messaging during events," Via said. "Identify best practices and ensure we share these among the entire Ammunition Enterprise."
Wrapping up the visit, Via also stated he would work to encourage other senior level Army and Department of Defense leaders to visit Radford.
Lt. Gen. Phillips visited Radford Aug. 30 and received a plant overview along with tours of the acid manufacturing area, nitrocellulose production line and the Radford power house.
He also had lunch with the nitroglycerine workforce where he took time to personally thank them for their service and support to the warfighter and the nation. During the briefing and tours, Phillips provided the following key points: Radford is a national asset and we must sustain it. Phillips strongly supports modernization efforts for plants and depots. Everything we do depends on resources, but we must ensure that we properly identify, document, and validate our requirements through the acquisition process to obtain these needed resources, he said.
Phillips inquired about the number of buildings on Radford that were ready for demolition and the ability to obtain demolition funding. Radford officials noted that as of fiscal year 2012, Radford are now allowed to use Layaway Industrial Funds (LIF) to remove old and excess buildings but that continuous LIF funding through the next several out years is needed to help Radford optimize.
He complemented the teamwork and partnership already demonstrated by the Army civilian staff and Radford's new contractor, BAE Systems, and looked forward to a positive working relationship between both, and stated he would promote additional visits to Radford by other senior leaders.
Phillips then traveled to Holston Aug. 31 for a tour of the facilities there. The general stated he was impressed that Holston's modernization program included near term projects and a strategic long term plan through fiscal year 2023. He noted the importance of insensitive munitions production and discussed the need for a Nitric Acid Concentrator/Sulfuric Acid Concentrator (NAC/SAC).
Phillips spoke with Holston AAP employees during a town hall where he stressed that the work performed at Holston is important to the success of the Joint Force.
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.