Ensuring Readiness for the Strategic Support Area: Munitions Readiness
A Crane Army Ammunition Activity employee stencils weight zone markings on ammunition rounds so warfighters can easily determine each round's weight zone in the dark. Crane Army specializes in conventional munitions support for U.S. Army and Joint Fo... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Editor's note: The joint force is preparing for large scale combat across land, sea, air, space and cyberspace. Under the Multi-Domain Operations concept, Army Materiel Command has reorganized and reshaped to ensure readiness of the Strategic Support Area, where military might is generated, projected and sustained during the fight. This article is the third in a series highlighting seven focus areas to achieve that goal: Supply Availability and Equipment Readiness; Industrial Base Readiness; Installation Readiness; Strategic Power Projection; Munitions Readiness; Soldier and Family Readiness; and Logistics Information Readiness.

The future is now.

In facing an ever-increasing threat, Army Materiel Command answers the call to provide the nation's warfighters with the munitions they need -- on the battlefield and for training.

The Army, designated as the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition across the joint force, provides ready, reliable and lethal munitions to sustain worldwide operations. As the Army's senior logistics command, AMC is responsible for 18 plants, facilities, munitions centers, activities and depots spread across the country that accomplish this mission. They distribute, store, demilitarize and produce for all U.S. military services, other government agencies and allied nations, as directed.

Army Materiel Command has a responsibility to be accurate in ensuring America's men and women are always equipped, said Commanding General Gen. Gus Perna.

"This means having the right munitions -- small-caliber to precision munitions -- at the right time and at the right place. It means we must ensure the capability we have here in the United States can receive, store and issue munitions in a timely, effective manner," Perna said.

That is accomplished by optimizing delivery and positioning across the globe; by facilitating expeditious transfer long before a need becomes critical; with demilitarization of excess or obsolete munitions; and with modernizing the ammunition industrial base.

The Army's senior logistician cautioned that to remain at the top means you can never stop running uphill.

"We know where they are going to distribute ammunition when the time comes, and we know what they have to replace in time of war," Perna said. "This is the first time this has been done, and I am very proud of where we are. With that said, we have a lot of work to do."

Army Materiel Command is also repositioning ammunition stocks to key locations around the world, including within the U.S. Central Command, European Command and Pacific Command theaters. AMC's ability to reposition, support and sustain the warfighter across the globe has given the U.S. a strategic advantage on the battlefield.

"It is a matter of physics -- the requirement versus the time to get it there," Perna said. "We have put stocks in place in support of the Combatant Commands, and we know the requirement and we know how to backfill them as they use it. More importantly, we know how it is going to be used in case of war."

Resources have been sourced to synchronize logistics and sustainment efforts at the strategic, operational and tactical levels to support the Army's relocation efforts, said Tim Collins, chief of Army Materiel Command's Conventional Ammunitions Branch.

"Supporting our life cycle management of the inventory will ensure our stockpile is ready and reliable to respond to any contingency," Collins said.

To that end, the Army coordinates through AMC; Headquarters, Department of the Army; AMC's Joint Munitions Command; Program Executive Officer/Project Managers; and operational commands throughout the Army and its sister services to synchronize munitions production with on-hand stocks, as well as training and operational requirements to support the joint warfighter, Collins said.

This also ensures that emerging requirements are captured as well as prioritizing requirements and sourcing with available/projected munitions supply.

The joint warfighter includes a focus on the Reserve Component, which, since 9/11, has taken a more prominent role in the Army's day-to-day operations, as its operational tempo has shifted to fall more in step with the Active Component.

"They are aligned to support us. They are executing moves around the country as we relocate ammunition … where it needs to be," Perna said. "I am 100% convinced that if we are not doing it together, it is not going to be a success, and frankly, it is our responsibility to be ready."