By John B. SnyderMay 18, 2009
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- Most press releases and news stories regarding U.S. Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody highlight the fact that she is the first female officer of any U.S. service to reach the rank of general. To those at the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal who prepared for a visit Friday from this four-star general, her historical achievement had no bearing on what the command would brief or what the leadership would show during her quick, five-hour visit.
"The bottom line is that she is our commander and we prepared the Arsenal for her visit as we would have for any other senior Army officer. With professionalism and pride we showcased our production, our combined work with the U.S. Army BenAfAt Laboratories, and most importantly, we showcased our people," said Col. Scott N. Fletcher, Watervliet Arsenal commander.
Fletcher welcomed Dunwoody to the Arsenal and given the limited amount of time for the visit, he wasted no time getting into the business of the Arsenal. This was Dunwoody's first visit to the Arsenal since her taking command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command last November.
Beyond the organizational charts and mission slides that are historically a part of every Army briefing, Fletcher quickly hit on the key message the Arsenal is doing exceptionally well in regards to production. In fact, at the present time the Arsenal is in full production manufacturing five major weapon systems, from Abrams Tank cannons to tubes for the Army's lightweight 155mm howitzer.
Nevertheless, Fletcher said the command could use AMC's help streamlining certain aspects of the Army's manufacturing process so that the Arsenal may provide readily available technical and manufacturing capacity, versus, the Army going outside of the Army for the manufacturing of a weapon system.
Dunwoody agreed the Army's current logistics system is challenging, complex and needs work as the Army prepares for the future rebalancing of the Army.
"This is a must. We have been talking about an Army Materiel Enterprise program for a long time but now we need to execute," said Dunwoody.
The Army will greatly benefit from an enterprise system that should provide a lower cost and improved quality to the customer by bringing together all the major partners, military and civilian, who are involved in the manufacturing and repair of equipment, Dunwoody added.
"Through improved collaborations as a result of a materiel enterprise system, the Army will be able to promote significant cost savings that might then be directed toward improving the quality of life of our Soldiers," said Dunwoody.
During the visit, Dunwoody was briefed by the Arsenal staff on the Arsenal's workload, which is strong through the next two years. She also walked through the production bays seeing the entire cannon manufacturing process, from the forging of tubes at 2,000 degrees to viewing the Arsenal's newest mortar production system using flowform technology. Flowform uses a cold metal forming process to mold Inconel steel versus the traditional use of forged heat.
Lee Bennett, director of the U.S. Army's BenAfAt Laboratories at the Watervliet Arsenal, also shared with Dunwoody the latest in military technology that goes beyond the Future Combat System. One of the prototype production systems that Bennett highlighted was the work on an electromagnetic gun system. Although years out from possible production, a prototype of the electromagnetic gun was tested at the Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., last August.
The U.S. Army Materiel Command is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness - technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment - to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, or eats it, AMC provides it.