Members of the Joint Ordnance Commanders Group meet virtually to discuss joint initiatives regarding munitions systems.
Members of the Joint Ordnance Commanders Group meet virtually to discuss joint initiatives regarding munitions systems. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — U.S. Army Col. Gavin Gardner, commander, Joint Munitions Command, recently co-chaired the annual Joint Ordnance Commanders Group alongside Joint Program Executive Officer Armaments and Ammunition, Brig. Gen. Vincent Malone. Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, U.S. Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general, was in attendance as the Executive Director for Conventional Ammunition.

As the EDCA, Walker is responsible for assessing the overall Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition mission execution as it relates to Joint Service activities.

The JOCG was established in 1985 after a study identified the need for a Joint Service commodity commanders’ group to pursue common business practices and merge other ammunition research and development and sustainment and logistics groups into one life-cycle ammunition group.

Representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command assembled with the shared mission to identify and recommend the implementation of joint initiatives to reduce cost, optimize resources, increase effectiveness, address shared concerns and maximize interoperability/interchangeability of munitions systems.

Energetics was a key focus as the participants were informed of the ongoing efforts by the Army’s Assured Munitions initiative to identify all risks within the munitions supply chain and develop detailed mitigation plans.

“Continued coordination across the services will be crucial to ensure consistent demand is in place to support domestic and allied sources, and eliminate risk from foreign suppliers,” said Vince Matrisciano, system of systems integration manager for JPEO A&A. “The use of consistent and strategic buys will be necessary to sustain the end-state Industrial Base.”

Chris Michienzi, chief technology officer for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, continued the energetics momentum with an overview of the National Energetics Plan Integrated Product Team. The team consists of multiple working groups responsible for examining similar activities and recommending models to utilize. The team was chartered by Congress to formulate an energetics research and development plan and to assess the establishment of a program office.

“This effort enables key stakeholders to coordinate energetics research and ensures a robust and sustained energetics material enterprise” Michienzi said.

Gardner followed with the results of the AMC munitions rehearsal of concept drill conducted in September 2020. The intent of the drill was to validate the enterprise’s capability to support Large Scale Combat Operations by simulating the synchronization of Joint Service munitions movement from strategic support area storages sites to military ocean terminals in preparation for shipment to a combatant command theater of operation.

“Although the drill began with an Army focus, we used time-phased outload requirements from the services to successfully simulate the full range of logistics demand on the joint enterprise,” Gardner said. “Drills like these are vital to ensure we are prepared to operate in a degraded environment if the need arises.”

Corey Hotle, director of facilities readiness at JMC, and Matt Zimmerman, program director for Joint Services at JPEO A&A, jointly briefed the Army Ammunition Plant Transformation Plan efforts stemming from a September 2020 testimony to the House Committee on Armed Services by AMC’s Commanding General, Gen. Ed Daly, and then-Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, Dr. Bruce Jette. The testimony highlighted the need to improve safety at the ammunition plants and resulted in a 15-year plan to transform the Organic Industrial Base with the latest manufacturing methodologies, processes, and equipment.

“Utilizing the expertise and support of external organizations, we will learn how to integrate robotics and automation to garner efficiencies and improve safety,” Zimmerman said. “Modernizing these aging plants will also create reductions in operating costs and help ensure readiness.”

Hotle detailed how the Army will operationalize transformation through a campaign plan developed by JMC with guidance from AMC and JPEO A&A.

“It is important to identify how the Army is supporting the production of next generation munitions; however, it is also important to define the distribution and storage roles for those munitions and identify the required infrastructure,” Hotle said.

Malone expounded on the end goal for the initiative.

“The overall end state for our transformation is assured munitions,” said Malone. “The goal is to look at different ways to produce and remove the workforce from the energetics.”

Walker was pleased with the collaboration.

“Forums like these enable us to work together to generate efficiencies and optimize resources, which is especially important in our current fiscally-constrained environment,” Walker said. “We must continue to capitalize on the expertise of the community.”