PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. – As he reflects on his current and final assignment before his upcoming retirement, Brig. Gen. William M. Boruff sums up his experiences in simple terms: “It's been a fantastic ride.”
At Picatinny, Boruff serves as head of the Joint Program Executive Office for Armaments and Ammunition, an organization with a key role in the Army modernization with its broad scope of responsibilities and systems that deliver lethal armaments and ammunition to warfighters.
The nature of Boruff’s job brings with it frequent interaction with multiple commands in the U.S. Army, as well as with other U.S. service branches. Over time, Boruff learned that the word “joint” in his organization’s name was truly embedded in its mission and that its scope of operations extends far beyond providing ammunition.
“I don't think I had a clear perspective of that before I got here,” Boruff said. “I didn't know that we did all the artillery platforms here. I thought it was just ammunition. So that was very enlightening for me. And working with all the services has been very rewarding and educational.”
In pursuit of Army Modernization goals, the Joint Program Executive Office for Armaments and Ammunition, often referred to simply as JPEO A&A, is tightly interwoven with the largest tenant at Picatinny, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center. The center, through its DEVCOM parent command, is part of the Army Futures Command.
Of JPEO A&A’s role, Boruff said: “It's pivotal to the Army and the DOD's mission of supplying the best and future ammunition to all services.” In his position, Boruff also has “milestone decision authority,” the overall responsibility and authority for acquisition decisions for a program or subprogram, including authority to approve the next phase of the acquisition process.
In addition to being the head of JPEO A&A, Boruff also has the role of senior commander of Picatinny Arsenal.
“It's not an additional duty – it's my primary,” Boruff said. “And the reason I say that is, the senior commander's responsibility has been very difficult during COVID. A lot of hard decisions have had to been made, and we continue to make them as we analyze and move forward. But it's been truly positive and rewarding. We're trying to ensure we keep our mission going and balance the safety of our folks as we go forward.”
A key role of JPEO A&A is oversight of government-owned, contractor-operated ammunition plants, and ensuring that they are capable of producing ammunition that meets the military’s evolving needs while operating efficiently and safely.
In March, Boruff was among senior Army leaders who provided testimony to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces on efforts to modernize conventional ammunition production across the industrial base.
“It was exciting to prep for it, knowing how important it is for Congress to provide the critical funding to our organic industrial base,” Boruff said. “It's a very exciting time because this administration, this Congress, is putting a lot of funding into our government-owned, contractor- operated facilities. As an example, we're putting almost $380 million dollars in Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (Missouri) for the very exciting new 6.8 mm round that's coming out.”
Although the 6.8 mm round is intended for the Next Generation Squad Weapon, Boruff said it is critical that ammunition plants also have the capability to produce projectiles that keep pace with evolving technology, such as the Extended Range Cannon Artillery.
“We're making great strides towards the transformational modernization across all of our organic industrial base,” Boruff said.
As senior commander, Boruff’s duties include representing Picatinny Arsenal in the various activities and ceremonies held at locations in the local community, such as Veterans and Memorial Day events. For example, the general spoke at an event at which the town of Dover celebrated its 100th Memorial Day Parade, and he walked with the mayor of Morris Plains amid a crowd of thousands of citizens in attendance.
“Those were the fun things that you get to do, and you get to meet the community folks who are so supportive of the military and understand what we do in Picatinny,” Boruff said.
The broad sweep of interactions that Boruff has experienced with various Army commands, other services and the local community have left the general with a buoyant measure of satisfaction in the closing days of his career.
“I've learned a lot in the year I've been here. And my thoughts are just thanks to everybody who has been so professional and has taught me so much.”
In a ceremony scheduled for June 10, Boruff will relinquish his installation commander and JPEO A&A responsibilities to Brig. Gen. John T. Reim, Jr. A retirement ceremony honoring Boruff will take place afterward. The gatherings will be hosted by Douglas R. Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.