PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- The Hon. Robert M. Speer, the Army's top civilian, visited Picatinny today to gain a better understanding of how the installation contributes to the strategic readiness of the Army and Joint Force.

"It's been an eye-opening experience to visit with you and see what you do and how your dedication enhances our readiness outlook," Speer told employees after the tour. "Because (readiness) starts with innovation and the drive and people that make our Army great."

Accompanying Speer was Hon. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents New Jersey's 11th District, which includes Picatinny Arsenal, and serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.

Speer, the Acting Secretary of the United States Army, spent his time in two technology forums that showcased the synergy between Picatinny's two main organizations -- the Program Executive Office Ammunition and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

"Picatinny Arsenal is a unique facility with a mission vital to the nation, especially the Army. The workforce here possesses knowledge and expertise that increases the lethality of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines," Speer said.

During his visit, Speer met with Picatinny Arsenal Senior Commander and Deputy Program Executive Officer for Ammunition, Brig. Gen. Alfred Abramson; Program Executive Officer for Ammunition, James Shields and Director of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, John Hedderich.

"It was an honor to host and show Honorable Speer the many products and programs the Arsenal has developed," Abramson said. "I think he was able to gain a great sense of our role when it comes to supporting the warfighter."

Speer received presentations on a sampling of technologies, including several lethality efforts that Picatinny develops and manages for the Department of Defense. These programs include the ARDEC/PEO Ammunition efforts to design and deploy an Extended Range Cannon Artillery capability rapidly, the program to replace the Dual Purpose Conventional Improved Conventional Munitions, and the upcoming Advanced Multi-Purpose 120 mm Abrams tank round.

"The Picatinny team's work expands our technological advantage across the multi-domain battlefield. Threats to our national security are always there, so the research and development conducted here are vital," said Speer.

Picatinny is designated the Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, providing products and services to all branches of the U.S. military. It is the third largest employer in Northwestern New Jersey, employing more than 6,000 employees, and providing 90 percent of the Army's lethality.

The Secretary of the Army has statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army and is responsible for recruiting, training, equipping soldiers to provide forces to support of America's national defense strategy.