Joint Munitions Command (JMC) Facilities Provide Unique Capabilities Within its Ammunition Industrial Base
Dennis Dunlap


he Army relies on the private sector for 70 percent of DOD’s conventional ammunition requirements; the remaining 30 percent are provided by government-owned ammunition plants and depots. Some plants, such as Radford Army Ammunition Plant (AAP), VA, and Holston AAP, Kingsport, TN, are well-known. This article focuses on some of the lesser known unique capabilities within the government-owned industrial base and how those capabilities provide flexibility to support our Soldiers, often in ways that were never imagined when the capabilities were developed.
CAAA produces the USN’s MJU-32/B decoy flares to protect aircraft from attack. CAAA has been producing illumination pyrotechnics for DOD since the 1940s. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of JMC.)



Unique Needs Spur Ongoing Operations
Some capabilities within the government-owned industrial base are truly unique. Private industry could not afford to sustain them given the ups and downs of defense munitions requirements. Riverbank AAP in Riverbank, CA, for example, produces steel-drawn cartridge cases used in the 105mm Stryker mobile gun system and the U.S. Navy’s (USN’s) 5-inch gun ammunition. Although the plant is scheduled for closure, the capability is

so critical that JMC has laid out a comprehensive plan to stockpile sufficient cartridge cases to meet Soldiers’ and Sailors’ requirements while the production line is being moved to Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, IL, where JMC is headquartered. Other capabilities are not unique, but serve a unique purpose. Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) in Crane, IN, has been producing pyrotechnics for illumination since the 1940s. In October 2001, when the

USN needed MJU-32/B decoy flares to protect aircraft from attack, it was logical to turn to CAAA. In a little over 10 months, they were able to produce an acceptable first article product. While there are several commercial producers available, the fact that CAAA has this capability allows the government to conduct low-rate initial production prior to technical data package (TDP) release and to ensure that TDPs are fully acceptable for competitive procurement. This also reduces the cost of follow-on buys.


An 8” artillery projectile is placed in its carousel by an MCAAP explosive worker prior to being lowered into an autoclave. The autoclave melts the TNT that will be sent through a process that returns the explosive into its original form for reuse in other bombs. More than 20 million pounds of TNT have been reclaimed since 2004. (U.S. Army photo by Jerri Mabray.)

Diverse Missions Lead the Way to New Technology
Pine Bluff Arsenal (PBA) in Pine Bluff, AR, has diverse missions ranging from depot storage to chemical and biological defense (CBD) equipment production. PBA’s production engineering lab, smoke test facilities, and chemical and physical laboratories are integral to new munition item development. PBA is a key producer of white and red phosphorus rounds, pyrotechnics and training items; and manufacturer of the M45 protective mask, large filters and decontamination kits used by Soldiers around the world. PBA’s support of DOD’s CBD has led to broader involvement with homeland security first-responder training, pre-positioned equipment surveillance and national weapons of mass destruction training center maintenance for the American Red Cross. The need to reduce environmental impacts has spurred new technology at

and produce a mining explosive for Anniston Defense Munitions Center commercial use. Phase III, an energet(ADMC) in Anniston, AL, where a ics processing module missile recycling center (EPM), is planned for (MRC) is being imMCAAP partners have startup in 2008. The plemented in three developed cost-effective EPM will reclaim phases. Phase I estabhigh-value HMX (cylished a disassembly methods for recovery of clotetramethyleneprocess for Tubeexplosives like tritonal tetranitramine), RDX launched, Optically and TNT that has (hexahydro-trinitrotracked, Wire-guided resulted in recovering 11 triazine) and AP oxi(TOW) missiles. dizer ingredients in ADMC estimates that million pounds of tritonal crude form with 98 percent of missile per year and more than greater than 99 perhardware, warhead ex20 million pounds of cent purity. The plosives and propellant MRC technologies ingredients can be reTNT for reuse in new should be directly apclaimed. Currently, bomb production. plicable to the vast TOW missile cases are majority of missiles in being recycled and the DOD and NATO inventories. sold to the original equipment manufacturer for reuse in new production. Other components are undergoing testDemilitarization (Demil), ing to determine reuse potential. Phase Recovery and Renovation II, a slurry explosives module, will inDemil capability exists across the amcorporate low-value energetic materials munition industrial base. At McAlester


decontamination furnaces and disassemAAP (MCAAP) in McAlester, OK, cably capabilities for impabilities include disproved conventional assembly, autoclave JMC established the munitions. WADF meltout and recovery MARID team to provide has a capacity to demil with technologies like 49,000 tons of ammurobotic and cryofracdirect ammunition logistics nition per year. ture disassembly under support to Soldiers in the development. MCAAP field. Calling on ammo Similarly, ammunipartners with several expertise from throughout tion renovation is a commercial firms capability that exists doing a wide variety of the JMC depot system, throughout the demil work. Together, MCAAP deploys teams to ammo industrial they have developed perform all aspects of base. Renovation alcost-effective methods lows the Army to refor recovery of exploammo life-cycle cover and extend the sives like tritonal and management, including life of ammunition TNT that has resulted maintenance, shipping, that otherwise would in recovering 11 milreceiving, inspection, have become candilion pounds of tritonal dates for demil. For per year and more renovation and demil. example, MCAAP than 20 million and Blue Grass Army pounds of TNT for Depot (BGAD) in Richmond, KY, reuse in new bomb production. The have pioneered bomb maintenance Defense Ammunition Center (DAC), collocated at MCAAP, is currently developing three capabilities for implementation into the U.S. Republic of Korea Demil Facility — a unit to treat contaminated solid waste for projectile meltout operations; a unit to treat contaminated liquid waste; and a unit that converts military propellants into usable liquid fertilizer. Hawthorne Army Depot in Hawthorne, NV, is home to the Western Area Demil Facility (WADF), a $120 million complex with a full range of demil capabilities including meltout, steamout, highpressure washout,

and renovation with complete thermal coating and thermal arc spray capabilities that meet stringent U.S. Air Force (USAF) thermal arc coating standards. The “new” bombs have 41 percent lower life-cycle maintenance costs and a 20-year useful life extension. BGAD has also developed a high-output renovation process for 105mm howitzer ammunition, a much needed capability since the 105mm howitzer is the primary artillery piece currently being used by our light forces.

Specialized Capabilities Support Design, Manufacturing, Logistics
Some capabilities emerge from the need to maintain the depot itself. For example, MCAAP, the largest ammunition storage depot in DOD, also has the largest rail system in the Army. Over the years, MCAAP has developed

CAAA Project Engineer David Peel works on the new Armor Survivability Kits for HMMWVs. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of JMC.)




DAC engineers and the Cybernet Corp. developed the ATACS, an automated inspection/sorting machine for unlinked small arms ammunition (SAA). The ATACS efficiently sorts and inspects five types of SAA: 5.56mm, 7.62mm, 9mm, .45 and .50 caliber at a rate of 50,000 rounds per 8-hour period. Units are installed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and Fort Irwin, CA, and more than 7 million rounds have been processed to date. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of JMC.)

institutional expertise and capabilities for efficient and effective rail maintenance that it now provides as a service to other facilities to generate revenue.

United Nations requirements, making MCAAP the supplier of choice for numerous DOD customers and vendors throughout the world.

JMC established the Mobile AmmuniAnother specialized capability at tion Renovation Inspection Demil MCAAP is the design and manufacture (MARID) team to provide direct ammuof both wood and steel pallets. The nition logistics support metal pallet facility to Soldiers in the field. can prototype, maDAC also serves as the Calling on ammo exchine, weld, fabricate pertise from throughand galvanize as many Army’s Hazard Classifier, out the JMC depot as 2,000 pallets a coordinating actions with system, MCAAP demonth. The wood the USN, USAF, SDDC, ploys teams to perform pallet shop is equally DOD Explosives Safety all aspects of ammo versatile. MCAAP life-cycle management, houses two of only Board and DOT. including maintefour heating chambers nance, shipping, rewithin DOD capable ceiving, inspection, renovation and of destroying insects and pests in wood demil. DAC also provides mobile trainproducts meeting U.S. Department of ing teams to provide critical hazardous Agriculture, European Community and

materials (HAZMAT) training to DOD-deployed forces in Southwest Asia (SWA). A 2-instructor team spends 3 months in theater, teaching students the rules and regulations governing HAZMAT transport by land, sea or air. DAC also serves as the Army’s Hazard Classifier, coordinating actions with the USN, USAF, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), DOD Explosives Safety Board and Department of Transportation (DOT). DAC also operates and maintains the Joint Hazard Classification System on DOD’s behalf and serves as the Army approver for Explosives and Chemical Agent Safety Site plans for operations and storage. Some of the equipment used by the MARID team comes from another JMC


more than 35,000 military and civilian respond quickly to urgent Soldier restudents annually. DAC also manages quests. For example, the rapid manuthe Army’s oldest cafacture of armor surreer program, the vivability kits for DAC provides Joint service Quality Assurance High-Mobility Multiammunition-related Specialist Ammunition purpose Wheeled VeSurveillance, and the hicles (HMMWVs) training to more than Ammunition Manearly on in OEF/OIF 35,000 military and agers career program. was done at CAAA. civilian students annually. Combined, these caAs the improvised exreer programs provide plosive device threat These career programs more than 1,000 qualgrew, CAAA and provide more than 1,000 ified civilians in the TEAD were both qualified civilians in the field supporting called upon to profield supporting warfighters. DAC duce armored cabs for produces the Yellow M939 series trucks. warfighters. Book, formally known In FY02, DAC develas the Hazard Classifioped AMMOHELP, cation of United States Military Explosives an informational database that answers and Munitions, to help Soldiers in the questions on any aspect of ammunition field who don’t have ready access to and explosives management, operations official information sources. and use. Questions can be submitted In direct support to the warfighter, by e-mail, phone or through the DAC DAC developed an Automated Tactical CAAA has developed a niche in repair of Web page at All Ammunition Classification System 20-foot shipping containers that are esresponses are provided by subject mat(ATACS) that is capable of sorting and sential to the Army’s ter experts, and more than 3,800 quesclassifying 50,000 logistics support. Aptions have been received and answered rounds of mixed small DAC developed an plying Lean Six Sigma since the program began. arms ammunition ATACS that is capable of to develop production from 5.56mm processes allows CAAA through .50 caliber These are just a few examples of the sorting and classifying to deliver high-quality per 8-hour shift, and diverse and unique capabilities that 50,000 rounds of mixed products at competihas processed 5 milexist within the ammunition industrial small arms ammunition tive prices. CAAA is lion rounds since spibase to support and protect our also renovating items ral integration in 2004 warfighters. The ammo industrial base from 5.56mm through such as dummy nose at Camp Arifjan, touches Soldiers around the world .50 caliber per 8-hour plugs, metal pallets Kuwait. A second every day with capabilities that extend shift, and has processed 5 and other types of ATACS at the Nafar beyond the basics of ammunition million rounds since shipping containers. tional Training Center, production, storage and maintenance. CAAA’s machining Fort Irwin, CA, has spiral integration in 2004 center supports all of processed 2 million at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. these operations with a rounds since 2006. A DENNIS DUNLAP is Director, Indusfull complement of third ATACS is being trial Support, within JMC’s Munitions Lomodern computer numerically controlled integrated into the Desert Optimized gistics Readiness Center. He has worked machinery as well as paint, plating and Equipment Workshop, and will provide in positions related to the Army industrial powder coating capabilities. a transportable, self-contained workbase for most of his 28 years of federal shop for fielding to SWA. government service. Previously, Dunlap facility, Tooele Army Depot (TEAD) in Tooele, UT, as well as from DAC. These activities maintain a skilled staff of engineers and machinists who develop, design, manufacture and field ammunition peculiar equipment (APE) worldwide. There are more than 370 types of APE including deactivation furnaces, meltout systems and operational equipment that provide a safer environment for handling HAZMAT, many of which have been deployed in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). Using their highly specialized skills, the workforce at APE and TEAD have developed robotic vehicles for antipersonnel mine clearance, lifting towers for security surveillance and communications systems used by both Soldiers and homeland defense personnel. Along with providing critical equipment to the warfighter, DAC provides Joint service ammunition-related training to

Unique Expertise Supports the Warfighter
The existence of these unique capabilities makes it possible for the Army to

was the Director, Enterprise Transformation, at the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Industrial Base Operations Directorate.