By Hayley SmithJune 11, 2019
CRANE, Ind. - Readiness is the U.S. Army's number one priority- its Soldiers must be ready to fight and win the nation's wars, then come home safely. Crane Army Ammunition Activity supports Warfighter readiness by providing ready, reliable and lethal munitions wherever and whenever required.
At Crane Army, providing munitions readiness includes receiving and issuing numerous types of munitions for training and real-world contingency missions, safely storing joint service munitions in a ready state, effectively demilitarizing munitions for the Department of Defense and sustaining critical production capabilities and replenishing munition stockpiles. However, it goes far beyond these core processes.
"Munitions readiness isn't just a fancy catch phrase thrown around to generate action," Crane Army Commander Col. Michael Garlington said. "Its very meaning describes our foundation and our purpose we skillfully execute every single day. We understand American lives depend on how well we do our jobs."
Crane Army provides these services to Warfighters under the direction of Joint Munitions Command, which coordinates its 17 subordinate installations to provide conventional munitions readiness for the Joint Force and America's allies around the world.
JMC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Michelle Letcher considers munitions readiness Crane Army's reason for existing. During a recent Congressional event in Washington D.C., Letcher emphasized CAAA's importance to the JMC enterprise.
"Munitions readiness is why Crane Army exists," Letcher said. "It delivers the munitions our Warfighters need to win and come home safely."
Providing that readiness requires Crane Army to remain relevant, modern and ready to respond to the needs of the nation.
"The 2018 National Defense Strategy challenged all branches of the military with a specific line of effort to build a more lethal force," Garlington said. "The Army modernization strategy relies on the skillful balancing of readiness, force structure, end strength and modernization efforts. The harmonic stability of all of these factors will ensure the U.S. military never enters into a 'fair' fight and can rapidly reach overmatch with any adversary."
This strategy depends on Crane Army and other members of the munitions Organic Industrial Base, the manufacturing arsenals, maintenance depots and ammunition plants that provide munitions and equipment to Warfighters, remaining agile and responsive to the needs of the U.S. Army.
As part of the Army's modernization strategy, Crane Army renovated one of its production facilities into a streamlined, flexible manufacturing complex that improves production rates by supporting multiple munitions programs at one facility.
"The Crane Flexible Manufacturing Complex provides munitions to Warfighters more quickly and efficiently," Garlington said. "The current focus is the M1122 program, which converts outdated rounds otherwise destined for demilitarization into low-cost training projectiles. When needed, CFMC can easily change operations to combat munitions to provide lethality that wins for our Warfighters."
This caliber of efficiency and modernization applies to the Activity's logistics operations as well.
To provide conventional munitions to Warfighters across the globe, Crane Army stores approximately $9.8 billion of ammunition and ships on average 34 truckloads of ammunition per day, every day while maintaining a surge capacity of 300 containers a day if needed.
These vast stores and high surge capabilities serve Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines through today's conflicts as well as the next. This aligns with Gen. Gus Perna's, commanding general of Army Materiel Command and the U.S. Army's senior logistician, vision for the OIB.
"To maintain a strategic advantage, the OIB must be ready to respond to the Army's needs no matter what they are," Perna said. "We need to meet not only today's requirements, but the surge requirements in the next war."
Those requirements include the guaranteed quality of munitions. Crane Army's ammunition surveillance division inspects all ammunition stored at and distributed from CAAA to ensure that each item functions right the first time, every time.
"There is no hesitation when the Warfighter pulls the trigger," James Tollett, depot operations quality chief, said. "In that moment they never have to ask themselves, 'I wonder if this round will function?' That unspoken expectation is the mark of excellence we endeavor to deliver."
At the Washington, D.C. event, Letcher summarized Crane Army's ability to provide ready, reliable munitions to Warfighters anytime, anywhere.
"Crane Army delivers lethality that wins," Letcher said.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is one of 17 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial bases under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants. Established Oct. 1977, it is located on Naval Support Activity Crane.