Historically, the Joint Munitions Command has focused on current readiness and repairing/replacing needed infrastructure, while establishing some known required capabilities for the future. JMC is now focused on developing a 15-year Transformation Strategy for the Ammunition Organic Industrial Base that drives an end state of modernized processes able to sustain readiness and postured to execute Large Scale Combat Operations. This collaborative effort is taking a look far into the future with the U.S. Army, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), Army Material Command and Joint Program Executive Office for Armaments and Ammunition to determine what will be needed to support the Ammunition mission.
Key characteristics of the modernized AOIB end state will include a transformed workforce, robotics, prognostics, predictive maintenance, artificial intelligence/machine learning, multi-use facilities, graceful degradation incorporated where appropriate, and energy independence. In order to develop the 15-year Transformation Strategy JMC is in the process of assessing core competencies and researching opportunities to integrate hi-tech equipment and automation. An important element will be assessing how technology and automation may allow policy changes that enable flexibility and configuration of facilities.
JMC leadership is engaged with the JMC installation commanders to level-set core competencies across the enterprise, which will be critical building blocks to the 15-year Transformation Strategy. That level-setting will be a valuable feeder into the site assessments AMC has planned in support of the overall AMC Transformation Strategy.
The JPEO and JMC are engaged with Sandia National Labs, a federally-funded research and development center sponsored by the Department of Energy, to conduct assessments at the JMC production installations to better understand the current manufacturing processes for conventional ammunition and develop a road map to modernize ammunition manufacturing. The focus will be on increasing the use of automation for repeatability, reducing costs and minimizing human exposure to dangerous processes.
There is no guarantee that modernization funding levels will remain constant; therefore, JMC must transform and determine how to develop the right mission, at the right place, with the right capability. In that lens, funding for new facilities needs to be designed to embrace today’s technology that will improve workforce safety, environmental compliance and energy efficiency, with conservation and resiliency resulting in a greater return on investment. The AOIB should look at integrating forms of automation, maintenance analytics through equipment sensors and upgrading facility layout and design to maximize production throughput with this investment. JMC must also think that way about equipment at the installations and go above and beyond the basics, focusing on safety and modernizing equipment and the workforce to create agile lines able to change and meet the nation’s changing ammunition needs.
Development of the 15-year Transformation Strategy is important as modernizing the industrial base has also become a key initiative for the Army and the nation.