CRANE, Ind. --Senior leaders from all levels within the Army's munitions supply chain, including the Army's top brass in the logistics field, visited Crane Army Ammunition Activity Sept. 30-Oct. 2 to discuss best business practices in a workshop forum hosted by Col. Joseph Dixon, Crane Army's commander.
Gen. Dennis Via, commanding general of Army Materiel Command, the primary provider of equipment, technology and weapons to the U.S. Army, Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, AMC deputy commanding general, and Brig. Gen. Kristin French, commanding general of Joint Munitions Command, toured the production and logistics facilities at Crane Army as a part of the 2014 Organic Industrial Base Commander Strategic Summit and Depot Assessment Visit.
The generals also spoke with over sixty subject-matter experts from the fields of military logistics, supply, acquisition support, materiel development and sustainment to discuss new ideas and efficient techniques for keeping the nation's fighting forces well supplied.
Via stressed the benefit of bringing everyone together to work through many of the current challenges facing the Army in its engagements across the world. "We're in a period of constant, continuous change," Via said. "It is the most complex period in my time in the Army. All of us are facing challenges in various missions and tasks, but we're all in the same boat."
"We are always looking for ways to improve how we produce, manufacture, transport and resupply," Via said. "We have facilities like Crane where people look for innovative ways to do business and provide the best cost and best value."
AMC and JMC leaders and subject matter experts in the field of munitions logistics and production, along with ammunition depot commanders, spent the days both discussing issues impacting the entire AMC enterprise as well as tour Crane facilities.
"Getting the leaders of the enterprise together to learn from each other is one of the best benefits of the Depot Assessment Visit," McQuistion said. "Additionally, having members of the reserve components here helps to open up new areas to explore for mutual benefits. It was very beneficial to see the idea-sharing across units and commands."
For French, charged with providing conventional ammunition support and storage for all U.S. military services, the visit was a unique opportunity to engage face to face with all the Army leaders under her command. "This was an assessment for all Joint Munitions Command commanders to take those lessons learned and take them back to their own commands, as well as utilize them in other areas."
Sue Ellspermann, Indiana's lieutenant governor, was also a speaker at the summit. She touted Crane's importance as a driving factor in the development of the I-69 extension project. "I-69 was built to the door of Crane to help get the munitions where they need to be when they need to be," Ellspermann said. "We take the crossroads nomenclature of the state's motto 'The Crossroads of America' seriously. We wanted to make sure Crane's activities are well protected and cared for."
Via is the first four star general to visit Crane since 2008. Crane Army employs around 660 people making munitions and pyrotechnics for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
"Nothing replaces being able to go out and talk to the people who have the responsibility for the work and are performing the work," Via said. "I'm able to see the lines they are operating, see the working conditions, talk to the leadership, check morale and make sure we provide them a quality work environment to perform their mission and understand clearly how I as their commanding officer can help meet their needs.
Established October 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure in order to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components. Crane Army maintains up to one third of the DoD's conventional ammunition inventory. The Activity also provides command oversight of Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Letterkenny Munitions Center, Pennsylvania, and Milan Army Ammunition Plant, Tennessee.