Total force approach increases munitions readiness

By Nicole Kirschmann (AMC) and Jeremiah CowgillJune 10, 2019

Soldiers secure ammo for transport
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Soldiers perform safety checks
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Operation Patriot Bandoleer unloading at Letterkenny Munitions Center
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ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Moving ammunition is a crucial part of the Joint Munitions Command's mission. The Army Reserve and the Army National Guard Soldiers need training opportunities. As part of Total Force Policy, those two goals are combined into partnership training opportunities that build Soldier and unit readiness.

JMC is leveraging the Army's Total Force Policy with a partnership that builds Army readiness while achieving JMCs strategic objectives.

"Currently JMC is reforming the way we do business, to better support the Chief of Staff of the Army's priorities and meet the Combatant Command requirements. Part of that is making sure the right items are in the right location, whether for storage, maintenance or demilitarization. Since we are able to offer some of this job to the Reserve Component, they get to use this opportunity to hone skills and train collectively on what they would do while deployed," said Sgt. Maj. Shontina Edwards, JMC Operations Sergeant Major.

JMC has many opportunities for unit training. The command provides their opportunities to Army Materiel Command's Reserve Component Mission Support Office, which reaches out at all levels of command in the USAR and ARNG to source the missions with units. The AMC Reserve Component Mission Support Office attends the USAR and ARNG training synchronization forums for units to sign up for AMC missions.

JMC has predictable, scalable, reoccurring opportunities for units to train and become proficient on mission essential tasks associated with Combat Service Support units and Combat Support units.

Total force opportunities can be combined by a unit to make more complex missions. The complexity depends on the unit capability but can include as much as an expeditionary sustainment command with multiple sustainment brigades under them and multiple task forces, or it can include only a single modular platoon. These missions are conducted by units organized into task forces supported by battalion or higher.

One example of this partnership is Operation Patriot Press, taking place this summer. OPP is the umbrella under which reserve components conduct real and relevant missions that support Army Materiel Command and its Major Subordinate Commands (one of which is JMC) while providing unmatched training events for Combat Support units. These missions are conducted as task forces supported by Combat Service Support Battalion or higher. JMC's OPP missions include transportation of munitions around the country.

JMC's opportunities for partnership with the USAR and ARNG are not just about moving munitions long distances. Also, JMC depots can request units to come to their depot.

For ordnance units, that can mean exercising multi-modular deployment capabilities in support of base operations, including lot and magazine inspections, maintenance, storage reform and demilitarization.

For engineering units, total force partnership can include concrete work, utilities support, road repair and building demolition. Construction projects are conducted as a cost savings to the government while the unit is conducting Mission Essential Task Lists (METL) training during their annual training as a savings to the unit as well.

An example of an engineering partnership is Crane Army Ammunition Activity. CAAA partnered with engineering units to remove rail access to magazines and convert those trails to roads in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness to outload ammunition from the magazines.

Both JMC and the Army units benefit from total force partnership missions. For USAR and ARNG units, working with JMC provides training on the specific unit's METL collective and individual tasks. These tasks include hands-on training with live munitions and transporting ammunition thousands of miles.

"The in-depth hands on training with the diverse types of live ammunition provided experiences that the unit is not able to replicate at home station," said Soldier feedback from the 826th Ordnance Company.

Soldiers who participated in Operation Patriot Bandoleer, a forerunner to Operation Patriot Press, praised the real-life training in evaluations with comments such as: "Best annual training I have ever done" and "First time I have done real work in my Military Occupational Specialty, 89B [Ammunition Specialist]."

The work completed through total force integration enables JMC to more quickly fulfill its strategic objectives that are part of the command's 2019-2020 campaign plan.

"Through this program, we right-size the Organic Industrial Base two to three years ahead of schedule," said Edwards.

For more information about JMC Total Force training opportunities, contact the JMC Operations Center at

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