CRANE, Ind. -- Brig. Gen. Richard Dix, commanding general of Joint Munitions Command, visited Crane Army Ammunition Activity March 7, bringing with him an energized message of current and future readiness.
"We need to be efficient and effective, at the best value, to ensure long-term viability for the future," Dix told employees as he toured Crane Army's logistical and production facilities. "We need to look at how we provide best value to the warfighter."
Dix, who previously visited CAAA in June when the Secretary of Defense visited the installation, saw more of Crane Army's capabilities to efficiently deliver ammunition today as well as what the command is doing to improve its processes, workforce and facilities to deliver long-term readiness in the future.
"We must shape our workforce of the future to ensure we have the right people to match the right requirements. We need to look to the future needs of the Army and prepare for it now," Dix said.
While at the Depot Operations directorate, Dix received briefings on how Crane has grown its logistical planning and operations nerve center to increase efficiency and effectiveness through modern technology, clearer processes and better communication.
"The Commanding General's visit was a great opportunity to share our employees' initiative to improve our organization and receive feedback first hand to improve our focus on quality output of our ammunition core competencies. Improving our core competencies allows us to offer more effective, efficient process at best value," Depot Operations Director Matt McGowen said.
During a working lunch, Depot Operations key leaders provided a brief of how the directorate was mapping outload processes to not only better its efficiencies but also increase its audit readiness. Afterward, Dix provided feedback not only on CAAA's operations but on the criticality of all the ammunition depots, plants and arsenals being ready to fully support both current and future operations.
"Our focus was sharpened from the CG's guidance and we were able to share our efforts to improve the performance of our ammunition logistics processes," McGowen said. "Improving our process will increase our audit readiness and allow us to target improving the speed of service to the Warfighter."
Dix also toured many of CAAA's key manufacturing and demilitarization facilities and was briefed on how CAAA partners with local academic institutions to improve these processes. He also toured one of CAAA's decoy flare production facilities where the value of collaborative engineering between Crane Army and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Divisions, personnel and capabilities create a best value for the entire Department of Defense.
While visiting the current M1122 production facility, Dix took the opportunity to present One-Star Notes recognizing several Crane Army employees for their hard work and initiative while working to fulfill the Navy's urgent request for 16,000 5"/54 projectiles.
During the presentation, Dix reflected on how the hard work of Crane's employees directly impacts those out in the field. Dix, who has deployed multiple times, said, "This means a lot to me. It is a small token but a large thank you for what you do. It is because of what you do that our Soldiers come home safely."
The final stop on the tour highlighted the current renovation work happening at what was once the Rockeye Bomb Facility. In order to be able to handle the readiness needs of the future, Crane Army is turning the set of buildings into a Flexible Manufacturing Complex that will be able to handle a range of munitions.
Tom Long, Army Ordnance Program Manager, briefed Dix on the potential usage of the complex. "It is exciting to see what was one of the dominant production sites at Crane--and has been mostly dormant for decades--now being brought back to its former glory as one of CAAA's premiere manufacturing sites. Once completed in early 2018 the complex will employ approximately 50 personnel in the improved production of the M1122 155mm HE training round."
Toward the end of his visit at CAAA, Dix recognized 29 current employees that served in the Vietnam War Era by presenting them with a certificate. He told the employees on hand for the presentation that America owes the Vietnam Veterans its gratitude for their sacrifices.
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.