By Kevin Jackson, AMCApril 22, 2014
McALESTER, Okla. -- Little did the Army's senior energy executive know when he arrived at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant here April 15 that it would bring flashbacks from his past.
"I wasn't expecting all these flashbacks to my earlier life at the State Department", said Richard G. Kidd IV, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability, about watching the integration of the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon produced by Textron Defense Systems at MCAAP. "I've now seen [my career] come full circle."
As a senior executive service employee at the State Department from 2001 to 2008, Kidd wrote the cluster munitions policy for the United States during a time when there was an effort to create a treaty to ban them.
These days, Kidd is responsible for getting the Army to think holistically about energy, water waste, and sustainability.
"The tagline we use is that 'we the Army need to make decisions now, so the Army of tomorrow has a choice,'" he said.
A significant part of that effort is diverting solid waste effort from landfills. Kidd said the intent is to eliminate, reduce or recycle it.
As he learned from the plant overview presented by Commander Col. Joseph G. Dalessio, MCAAP has railroad infrastructure and a team that deploys worldwide to provide rail maintenance and support to the Defense Department.
Kidd immediately asked about the type of railroad ties being used. When he was told they are made from recycled plastic, he quipped, "You get a sustainability point."
He also learned about MCAAP's energy savings performance contract that it signed with Siemens Government Technologies Nov. 28, 2012. Among the tasks is retrofitting LED lighting in 40 production facilities, replacing aging boilers and systems, and installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Kidd said the Army is currently working through the Army Materiel Command with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to send teams to installations to look at technology for replacing boilers with combined heat power using natural gas.
"You guys are on the short watch as either technology costs come down for renewables or the regulatory or environment changes a little bit in Oklahoma or the cost structure of your utilities change," Kidd said." I think it's only a matter of time, within the near term, before there will probably be a project here."
In addition to the overview, he also toured the plant, making stops to view the load, assemble and pack process of the BLU-117 bomb, B-line modernization work, demilitarization of the 155mm Dual Purpose Improved Contentional Munition artillery projectile, facilitation for the assembly of the M1122 155mm training and low collateral damage round, and integration of the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon.
"I appreciate everything you're doing," Kidd said to MCAAP staff at the end of the tour. "It's important work. The guys out there need to know that when they use it, it's going to be there and it's going to work."
Dalessio said he welcomed the opportunity to showcase the MCAAP mission and its workforce, and to learn best business practices from the Army's senior energy executive.
"We had a great visit from Mr. Kidd and we appreciate him taking the time to share his enthusiasm and insights into energy security and sustainability with us," Dalessio said following the visit. "We've been working to improve our energy efficiency and sustainability practices, and his visit has galvanized our efforts."
Kidd is one of the deputy assistant secretaries to Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and the environment, who visited MCAAP April 18, 2013.
He was accompanied on the visit by Heidi Hanson, associate deputy general counsel for installations, environment and civil works; Dan Adams, professional staff member, Senate Armed Services Committee; and Army Lt. Col. Rance Lee, legislative affairs officer for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant is the Department of Defense's premier bomb and warhead loading facility, and is one of 14 industrial facilities in the Joint Munitions Command. It is vital to ammunition stockpile management and delivery to the joint warfighter for training and combat operations.