By Kevin Jackson, AMCDecember 20, 2016
McALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT, Okla. -- The Army leader who ensures the nation's warfighters have ready, reliable and lethal munitions called his visit to the munitions productions facility, here, invaluable.
"This is what [my visit is] all about," said Brig. Gen. Richard B. Dix, commanding general, Joint Munitions Command.
"Now, I have a greater appreciation…and will not see the same dynamic [from other installations] the same way. Now we need to get the right strategic leaders out here so they see the same thing. It's priceless."
His first stop at MCAAP was to a storage magazine. There, he heard how Depot Operations manages its various storage facilities, many of which date back to the 1940s when the plant was constructed.
"Ours are in better shape than most others because 30 years ago we started investing in single-ply roofing membranes to cover our magazines," said Col. Sean M. Herron, MCAAP commander. "These covers protect them from the elements.
Dix also observed how MCAAP demilitarizes obsolete and unserviceable artillery rounds, and then reuses the old artillery cases in the production of the M1122 training round.
"I'm really impressed with the reutilization," Dix said.
He also watched the load, assembly and pack of general purpose and penetrator bombs; missile maintenance work; and MCAAP's "skunkworks", where explosives workers join the research and development community to design, load and test future munitions technologies.
"This is the premier facility in the country. It's very unique," said Greg Glenn, a contractor from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to Dix during his visit to the facility.
During a working lunch in the historic C-Tree School, Dix talked to MCAAP leaders about the recent shift from a business- to operations-oriented culture.
"We must operationalize the business process," Dix said. "In some instances, we've been focused too much on the business."
Dix said JMC installations need to return to their roots and posture themselves to stay ahead of anticipated future workload requirements.
To do that, he said they need to be more effective and efficient, at better value, to deliver the needed munitions to the Joint Force.
"I've told my guys that we must deliver like it's nobody's business … to keep the bad guys from gaining momentum," he said.
Nearing the end of the visit, Herron told Dix that while MCAAP has some unique capabilities, it's the workforce that separates the plant from other facilities.
"I've been to other plants, but there is something different about these workers," he said. "It's amazing what they figure out."
Dix said he intends to capture innovative ideas and share them across his 14 installations to create efficiencies that lower the costs of business.
"I'm telling my guys if we're more efficient and more effective, at better value, we'll get to make more decisions," he said. "This is what our focus should be on."
While Dix's first visit was focused on operations, he held a town hall meeting which was recorded for the workforce on the first day of his two-day visit. He also presented certificates, lapel pins and bumper stickers to 27 Vietnam veterans employed here as part of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration.
Dix's visit to MCAAP was his second, but his first since taking command of JMC.
"This was a fantastic opportunity to host Brig. Gen. Dix here to see firsthand the incredible capability MCAAP provides as a strategic asset that enhances readiness across the Joint Force," Herron said.
MCAAP is one of 14 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial base facilities under the U.S. Army Materiel Command.