By Ms. Rachel Newton (AMC)October 15, 2012
Pine Bluff Arsenal played host Sept. 20 to the Project Manager Combat Ammunitions Systems conventional ammunition management review meeting. The meeting, held at the Arsenal's Training Center, included visitors from PM-CAS, U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, Crane Army Ammunition Activity and McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. Personnel from PBA's Directorate of Ammunitions, Engineering and Technology, Material Management and Business Operations were also in attendance.
Arsenal Commander Col. David Musgrave kicked off the morning meeting thanking everyone for coming to Pine Bluff. "When I first took command, one of my fellow commanders told me I should host the next PM-CAS meeting. At the time I didn't even know what that was, but now I understand a little more of what the intent is today for bringing us all together," he said.
"We are all going through changes right now with brand new leadership on board. I want to thank those from other sites -- Crane and McAlester, as well as those from PM-CAS. I look forward to a good meeting."
Sal Ghazi, branch chief with PM-CAS, said that it is important to keep key technologies alive at the GOGOs (Government Owned, Government Operated) facilities. "This has taken about 19 years to get to this point," he said.
Larry Wright, PBA civilian executive assistant, reiterated what Ghazi voiced during his introduction about keeping the organic industrial base alive. "Exchanges such as this (meeting) and getting a common focus when moving forward is important," said Wright.
Ghazi said that during peace time when the troops come home, they train. "They train with HE or high-explosives and training rounds. They don't train with smoke and illum (illumination rounds). Smoke and illum are used during war time only," he said. "If you remember back during '01, '02 and '04, our ammunition buys were 600 rounds total for the year. We peaked in 2011 and 2012 with about 70,000 mortars. You can see that it was down then up. Folks, it is going back down."
He explained that PM-CAS went back to Department of the Army and told them that they understood the funding issues.
"There are certain technologies that we need to keep going. One is white phosphorus," said Ghazi. " (There is )nowhere else in the country can we manufacture WP, and if that line sits idle then it will rust away and we won't be able to get it back. Red phosphorus is another issue. Those programs at least have to stay viable. We don't know when we will have to be ready. Once you lose the technology it takes forever to get it back. DA is supporting that." Ghazi said that the PM-CAS plan is to workload the GOGOs for as long as they can.
Wright expressed a concern in keeping the supply chain base moving through peacetime. "The biggest challenge to work through is keeping that supply chain warm. We have a challenge keeping our LAP (load, assemble, pack) facilities going and available, but if you don't have parachutes, cables, bodies, etc., it is all for naught," he said. "How do you keep that supply chain warm making mortars a teaspoon at a time every year? There are some big challenges ahead."
The meeting progressed with an overview from Marty Moratz with PM-CAS via teleconference. "We have a very successful relationship with the GOGOs," he said. "We want to move forward within the uncertain future. Meetings like this help and are a value-added activity. We always need to be prepared with other opportunities come up."
Musgrave countered Moratz's comments by saying that PBA's future depends on relationships. "We have to be invested in the planning for the future," he said. "I do agree we have to be in this from cradle to grave, and we are here to learn and try to prepare for it."
Roch Byrne, director of Ammunition Operations, presented a briefing on PBA ammunition, and briefings were also presented on Crane by Tom Long and McAlester by Scott Sullivan.
Tours were offered in the afternoon on the M930 LAP and M1066 LAP, with a wrap up in the afternoon back at the training center.