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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization 1 Munitions Manufacturing in the United States This chapter describes conventional munitions manufacturing in the United States from a historical perspective and describes the current status of the munitions industrial base (MIB). It also introduces the Totally Integrated Munitions Enterprise (TIME) program and outlines the intent of this study. HISTORY AND CURRENT STATUS The MIB can be divided into four categories: (1) conventional munitions, (2) precision-guided munitions (PGMs) (so-called smart weapons), (3) weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological, and chemical), and (4) munitions of the future. This study concerned itself primarily with conventional munitions, a category sometimes referred to as ammunition, and only secondarily with smart munitions. The TIME program, however, has the potential to provide a valuable framework for the design, procurement, and fabrication of smart munitions and possibly also for munitions of the future, although weapons in this category are only vaguely defined. The conventional munitions category includes the munitions fired from (1) pistols, rifles, and machine guns; (2) tanks, artillery, mortars, and ship’s guns; and (3) aircraft guns and shipboard air defense weapons. Conventional munitions also include so-called dumb bombs. These basic, low-technology munitions, often known as “rounds,” generally have changed little in their design during the past century. Small arms ammunition typically consists of a metallic (usually brass) cartridge case filled with a propellant charge that is crimped to a projectile, such as a bullet. Rounds typically contain a primer/detonator and/or fuse. The propellant, especially for large rounds, may be stored in separate bags or cases, to be used as needed to achieve the desired range. Except for kinetic energy small arms ammunition, most conventional munitions contain a high explosive, often called the warhead. Electronics are typically nonexistent or a minor part of these munitions. The current U.S. munitions manufacturing base was originally established to meet World War II (WWII) munitions requirements of the United States and its allies. Selected parts of it were subsequently upgraded to meet the needs of more recent conflicts, including the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization primary emphasis was on the production of massive quantities of unsophisticated munitions. The U.S. munitions supply strategy consisted of maintaining massive stockpiles of conventional munitions while retaining the ability to surge the MIB— that is, to rapidly ramp up production rates—in case of major conflicts. During those years, the United States retained considerably more capacity than it needed, largely because of the massive production capacity established during WWII and also because of fears of a massive land war in Europe. Entering the 21st century, the MIB consists of two broad categories of facilities, usually called “organic” and “commercial.” The organic category comprises government-owned/government-operated (GOGO) and government-owned/contractor-operated (GOCO) facilities. The commercial base consists of a declining number of commercially owned/commercially operated facilities, consisting of both prime contractors (responsible for end-item production) and numerous subcontractors (suppliers of components to both government and commercial end item munitions producers). As of 1997, the U.S. MIB consisted of three active GOGO facilities, six active GOCO facilities, and fewer than 50 contractor-owned/contractor-operated (COCO) facilities (NDU 1997). These facilities are supplied by numerous (but diminishing) second-and third-tier manufacturers. During the past several decades there was little incentive to modernize munitions manufacturing equipment and facilities in either the government or commercial sectors, because there was significantly more capacity than needed. Consequently, most munitions manufacturing facilities are at least several decades old and are obsolete even by the most generous standards. Defense planners have relied instead on huge stockpiles of munitions. Although stockpiles enable a rapid response in case of a military crisis, they are expensive to create, maintain, and, in many cases, dispose of when no longer needed. The current government munitions manufacturing base not only is obsolete and, in some cases, in poor condition, but also has extremely high overhead costs (in part owing to low production rates), is inflexible, and is in varying states of readiness for reactivation in case of a national emergency (McWilliams 1999). While the government-owned MIB has gradually decayed, significant advances have been made in munitions technology. Despite generally low levels of research into concepts for advanced penetrators, energetics, guidance systems, and munitions, new smart munitions, which offer significant advantages to the war fighter, have been developed. The dramatic performance of new PGMs during Operation Desert Storm and the Kosovo conflict demonstrated conclusively that some of these new weapons are far superior to conventional munitions for many applications. Field commanders greatly prefer them and tend to use the newest technology weapons first. This approach, while justified by the goals of rapid victory with minimal casualties, contributes to the massive stockpiles of increasingly obsolete munitions and strongly suggests that future munitions requirements will increasingly focus on new and high-technology smart weapons. Their manufacture requires advanced processing capabilities not found in most of the older munitions factories. According to information presented to the committee by the Army’s Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC), the United States currently has considerable overcapacity for
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization the production of conventional weapons (McWilliams 1999), but a study by the National Defense University points out that there is an inadequate capacity and capability for advanced munitions (NDU 1996, p. 15–10). The end of the Cold War has resulted in significant decreases in the DoD budget, especially for weapons procurement. Funds for munitions procurement have declined approximately twice as fast as the overall DoD acquisition budget (NDU 1996, p. 15–6), resulting in lower production, poorer production efficiency, and poorer profitability for the entire MIB. Overhead rates and unit production costs have increased because of uneconomical production rates and because the fixed expenses of idle plant capacity must be covered by the remaining production. In this environment, it is difficult for either the government or commercial firms to justify investments in modernization. The declining MIB has resulted in a commensurate aging and downsizing of the workforce. Employees have retired or have been released, taking critical skills and knowledge with them. Few new employees have been hired. This loss of critical skills may severely limit the industry’s ability to develop new weapons and support future contingencies. The shrinking base has also resulted in a greater percentage of sole-source producers, which in turn leads to reduced flexibility and, in some cases, very little surge capacity. These driving forces make it difficult for the Army to oversee the manufacture of munitions for all of the armed services. It is responsible for designing, manufacturing, and maintaining munitions that are increasingly sophisticated and difficult to manufacture, while also coming under pressure to achieve higher quality and reliability, shorter acquisition cycle times, and lower unit costs. The National Defense University issued studies of the munitions industry in 1996, 1997, and 1998 (NDU 1996, 1997, 1998). Considering such factors as the decreasing demand for conventional munitions, the loss of expertise as the workforce is downsized, sharp decreases in munitions procurement budgets, the primitive state of GOGO munitions manufacturing facilities, and the increasing preference of field commanders for smart weapons, these studies reached the following conclusions: The current U.S. munitions stockpile, coupled with the production of precision weaponry, appears marginally adequate to meet the DoD requirement of fighting two short (less than 90 days) major regional conflicts. Current trends suggest that in the near future, the MIB might not be capable of sustaining the quality and quantity of munitions required in a prolonged contingency, such as a “short war gone long” (NDU 1997, p. 14–1). For PGMs, industry consolidation could pose a threat to continued U.S. technological superiority (NDU 1998, p. 13–1).
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization THE TOTALLY INTEGRATED MUNITIONS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM This section examines the history of the TIME initiative; outlines its vision, goals, and objectives; and describes its programmatic activities and current status. Background The problems and challenges existing in the munitions industry, as outlined in the preceding section, were elaborated in detail in a study published in 1997 by the Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). This study recommended that the Army “invest and leverage resources among government, academia, and industry to create a flexible industrial base for munitions” (PNNL 1997). In response, a coalition including the Industrial Controls Corporation, Inc., of Shreveport, Louisiana (ICON), DoE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and several industrial firms was formed to address these issues. After a difficult first year, ICON was terminated as a contractor and the initiative was reorganized. The initiative was called the Totally Integrated Munitions Enterprise, or TIME. Significantly, major funding for TIME came from a congressionally directed initiative, known as a plus-up, rather than from the DoD (either the Army or the DoD Manufacturing Technology program [ManTech]) budget process. Thus, ownership, accountability, and funding for the TIME program have been outside the normal DoD/Army/ManTech chain of command. DoE, which has stewardship of nuclear weapons, has core competences and technology interests that overlap those of the conventional munitions industry. One of these technology interests involves a perceived need for advanced-functionality, open-architecture controllers, designed such that the architecture may be accessed and customized by engineers at the user organization. The DoE weapons complex has been active in the development and promotion of such controllers. One avenue for that involvement was through the Technologies Enabling Agile Manufacturing (TEAM) program (described in Neal 2000), which defined requirements for an open-architecture modular controller. In part because of these involvements, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory assumed a lead role in the management of the TIME program, supported by numerous companies and agencies. Within the Army, the TIME program is overseen by TACOM-ARDEC at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. Vision, Goals, and Objectives The high-level vision of TIME is that it will “provide the Department of Defense with a cost-effective, flexible manufacturing capability configured to meet U.S. munitions needs in the 21st century” (Rosenberg et al. undated). This vision of TIME attempts to address munitions manufacturing as a total system,
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization integrating all aspects of the enterprise, including the definition of munitions requirements, the design of products and processes, scale-up, production, the supply chain, logistics, product support, and even the eventual demilitarization of unused munitions. A major goal of TIME is to support the ability of the Army, as the single manager for conventional ammunition for all of the armed services, to fulfill its responsibilities relative to DoD’s current and future munitions manufacturing and replenishment policy. Associated goals include the development of means to greatly reduce product development and deployment cycle times and life-cycle costs and to enable a faster response from dual-use suppliers in times of crisis. Specific objectives of TIME are as follows (Rosenberg 1999): Migration to an environment supporting concurrent engineering and integrated product and process development; Support for seamless interaction among all elements of the product realization process by implementing a ubiquitous communication networking capability; and Development of the capability to exploit dual-use, nongovernment-owned manufacturing facilities as a means to ramp up munitions production in times of national emergency. Program Description This section draws from presentations by Burleson (1999b), Osiecki (1999), Stephens (2000), and Miller (1999). For a detailed task breakdown and schedule of the entire TIME initiative, see ManTech (1999) (excerpted in Appendix A). The system design concept adopted by the TIME program considers three levels: Level 1: shop floor. Control of individual and grouped machines and processes within a facility; Level 2: above the shop floor. Integration of shop floor operations with business processes; and Level 3: external interoperability. Communication between multiple sites, suppliers, enterprises, and agencies. Level 1 within a given facility would possess the following capabilities: Computer-aided design, engineering, and manufacturing (CAD/CAE/CAM); Capture and electronic documentation of manufacturing processes; Communication of operations status to remote sites; and Rapid transfer of designs and production process technologies to dual-use commercial facilities in the event that replenishment is needed.
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization Level 2 would consist of the following: A distributed communications network; General-purpose collaborative tools; Quality monitoring systems; Management of engineering changes (product design and process); A logistics support system; A data management and archiving system; A manufacturing execution system; and Financial, purchasing, personnel, and inventory systems. Level 3 would embrace the following concepts: Replenishment with reduced overhead1 Minimal start-up, tooling, testing, and replenishment times; and Scalable and replicable work cells; Integration from design to production; and Flexibility Ability to accommodate small lot sizes to mass production; and Affordable, timely production of smart munitions. Program Elements The TIME program consists of the following elements, each of which is addressed further in this report (Burleson 1999b; ManTech 1999; Rosenberg et al., undated): Enterprise architecture; Product realization; Networking; Open modular architecture control; Enterprise systems; and Demonstrations. Metrics for Judging Success The Army will measure the success of the TIME program using the following metrics (Burleson 1999b): Reductions in replenishment base and overhead; Reductions in cycle time and acceleration of the acquisition cycle; Reductions in life-cycle costs; and 1 Originally “without overhead” in prepublication document.
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization Success in capturing manufacturing process knowledge and better ability to efficiently transfer it to industry. Deliverables The deliverables of the TIME program include the following: A framework for integrated product realization; A “toolset” of enabling technologies that support the integrated munitions enterprise (Burleson 1999b) Product (requirements management, design, and product optimization); Process (manufacturability, macro and resource planning, microplanning, and process optimization); Analysis (product simulation, process simulation, fixture simulation, workflow simulation, and enterprise modeling); Fabrication, assembly, inspection (open architecture controls, work instruction, and manufacturing execution system); Integration (Web integration management); Enterprise systems (distributed network, general-purpose collaborative tools, quality-monitoring systems, change management, a logistics support system, and a data management and archiving system); Implementation of the toolset in a virtual enterprise (Burleson 1999b); and Validation of demonstrations of TIME technologies. Program Funding Table 1–1 shows the level of effort by fiscal year and program element for each of the participants funded by TIME. An analysis of the “Authorized Funding” column in Table 1–1, after removing funds allocated to “Demonstrations,” “Program support,” and “Program management,” reveals the funding breakdown by project element shown in Table 1–2. STUDY OBJECTIVES AND APPROACH Charge to the Committee After several years of effort on the TIME program and recognizing that the munitions industry is continuing to decay, TACOM-ARDEC requested that the National Research Council (NRC) evaluate the program and offer recommendations that will enable it to better meet the needs of the munitions
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization TABLE 1–1 TIME Phases I through III: Inclusive Funding, Amount Spent, and Equivalent Headcount Equivalent Headcount Project Element Responsiblea Orgnization Authorized Funding ($) Total Spent Through 2/29/00 ($) LLNL LCMS Raytheon Total TIME phase I, FY98 Open modular architecture control LLNL 3,184,644 2,731,100 7.50 7.50 Program support LLNL 966,264 1,962,100 1.25 1.25 Total phase I 4,150,908 4,693,200 8.75 0 0 8.75 TIME phase II, FY98 Architecture Raytheon 572,212 607,571 2.0 2.0 Product realization Raytheon 1,111,610 923,608 1.5 3.0 4.5 Networking LCMS 1,020,288 954,146 3.5 3.5 OMAC extensions Raytheon 616,470 432,447 2.0 2.0 Demonstrations LCMS/Raytheon 2,072,371 1,689,719 3.0 5.0 2.0 Program management LCMS 650,958 423,047 3.0 3.0 Total phase II 6,043,909 5,030,538 0.0 10.0 10.0 20.0 TIME phase III, FY99 Open modular architecture control LLNL 1,246,580 122,100 7.0 7.0 Product realization LCMS/Raytheon 631,457 23,576 2.0 2.0 4.0 Networking LCMS 410,560 18,800 4.5 4.5 OMAC extensions Raytheon 357,070 0 2.0 2.0 Enterprise systems Raytheon 400,236 51,823 3.0 3.0 Demonstrations LCMS/Raytheon 1,872,175 15,509 3.0 3.0 6.0 Program support LLNL 866,867 270,200 1.25 1.25 Program management LCMS 213,256 958 3.0 3.0 Total phase III 5,998,201 502,966 8.25 12.5 10.0 30.8 Grand total phases I–III 16,193,018 10,226,704 aLLNL, Lawerence Livermore National Laboratory; LCMS, Louisiana Center for Manufacturing Sciences. Source: T.McWilliams, e-mail communication to the NRC Committee to Evaluate the TIME Program, June 16, 2000.
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization TABLE 1–2 TIME Funding Breakdown by Project Element Project Element % of Total Project Funding Funding Level ($) Enterprise architecture 6 572,212 Product realization 18 1,743,067 Networking 15 1,430,847 OMAC 57 5,404,764 Enterprise systems 4 400,236 Total 100 9,551,126 NOTE: Program support, program management, and demonstration costs are not included. industry in the 21st century. The Committee to Evaluate the Totally Integrated Munitions Enterprise Program (TIME), formed under the direction of the Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, was asked to perform the following tasks: Review the goals, objectives, and activities that currently constitute the TIME program, including those related to manufacturing process controls, the integration of operations and business processes, and site-to-site communications. Develop a coherent description of the elements and activities of the TIME program and the manner in which they interact. Benchmark the TIME program against pertinent state-of-the-art best practices for enterprise architecture and functions such as enterprise management, supply chain management, communications, production design and development, process/machine controls, and shop floor controls. Evaluate the extent to which these activities address the manufacturing recommendations and challenges identified in two recent NRC reports, Visionary Manufacturing Challenges for 2020 (NRC 1998) and Defense Manufacturing in 2010 and Beyond (NRC 1999). Identify needs for further development and recommend adjustments to the TIME program, including policy changes, to enable it to
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization successfully address the challenges of munitions development and manufacturing. Identify potential applications for TIME approaches and technologies within the Army, the Department of Defense, and commercial facilities. The committee supplemented its expertise and gained a deeper understanding of the issues in several ways. First, several members of the committee visited Picatinny Arsenal to see a first-hand example of the Army‘s munitions facilities and some of the work being done by the TIME program. Second, the committee received an extensive series of briefings on the activities of TIME. The committee also received briefings from defense-related and civilian industries on recently implemented state-of-the-art enterprise integration, supply chain integration, and e-commerce systems. The committee organized the report into segments that reflect the major thrusts of the TIME program. Chapter 2 discusses the program’s approach to integrating the munitions enterprise, including architectures, networking, and systems. Chapter 3 assesses the TIME program’s approach to munitions replenishment issues. Chapter 4 delves into the product realization process in the munitions industry. Chapter 5 addresses controllers, which is where the TIME program has spent much of its resources to date. Chapter 6 discusses the important topic of demonstration and validation. In Chapter 7 the committee takes a different look at the TIME program, benchmarking it against the recommendations of two recent visionary NRC manufacturing studies. Finally, Chapter 8 presents several overarching conclusions and recommendations of the committee. Appendixes A, B, and C contain details of other programs that are related to TIME, and Appendixes D, E, and F contain biographical sketches of the committee members, a glossary, and a list of acronyms, respectively. Frame of Reference for the Committee The charge to the committee was to assess the appropriateness of the TIME program for modernizing the MIB such that future munitions requirements can be met. For the committee to accomplish its task, an assumption had to be made regarding the future conventional munitions requirements of the combined U.S. armed services. There is considerable disagreement among military experts and strategists as to the nature of future potential military engagements and the role of conventional munitions in those engagements. At the risk of oversimplification, the two opposing views may be characterized as follows: Surgical strikes with precision weapons. Those who advocate this view believe that future U.S. military engagements will be similar in nature to Operation Desert Storm and the more recent Kosovo conflict. PGMs were dominant in those engagements. Conventional munitions played a secondary role, particularly in the Kosovo conflict.
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization Hand-to-hand combat. Other experts believe that the United States would be shortsighted to assume that all future military engagements will be similar to those seen in the 1990s, saying that relegating conventional munitions to history implicitly assumes that the United States will remain the world’s only superpower far into the future and will engage in regional conflicts primarily from the air. They conclude that the country must retain a strong capability to support large ground forces with conventional (but steadily improving) weapons and munitions. These experts point to Operation Desert Storm and the Kosovo conflict as evidence that their view is correct. While conceding that precision weapons were extremely valuable in Desert Storm, large ground forces were still required to assure victory. The decision not to use ground forces in Kosovo, they claim, resulted in the deaths of thousands of noncombatants and a situation where long-term deployment of peacekeepers has been necessary. Those experts subscribing to the latter view are concerned about the condition and deteriorating capability of the conventional MIB. Four recent studies (PNNL 1997; NDU 1996, 1997, 1998) have described the primitive state of the MIB and have questioned its ability to meet the nation’s munitions needs in the future. One says, “Trends point to a time in the near future when the U.S. MIB might not be capable of sustaining the quality and quantity of munitions required in a prolonged national emergency such as a short war ‘gone long’” (NDU 1997, p. 14–1). Some of the studies recommend a large investment in modernizing the base. Modernization would include upgrading manufacturing processing equipment (including machine tool controllers); extensive use of CAD/CAM/CAE technologies within an integrated, interoperable environment; and use of modern communications technologies throughout the munitions supply chain. These recommendations envision a dramatic transformation of the currently antiquated munitions factories. Implicit in some of the studies is the assumption that the MIB would produce generally the same array of conventional munitions that is produced today as it also acquires the capability to produce more advanced munitions. Those experts subscribing to the surgical strike view of future warfare see the world very differently. The demand for conventional munitions has decreased sharply over the past decade, accompanied by sharp reductions in procurement budgets. There has been a major consolidation of commercial firms engaged in munitions production, accompanied by a significant downsizing of the workforce. Precision-guided munitions have become the weapons of choice among military field commanders. Some analysts claim that the emergence of PGMs, along with even more advanced munitions under development, has led to a fundamental shift in U.S. defense strategy: “Since the Vietnam conflict, our shot-to-kill ratios for bombs have shrunk from 1,000 to 1 to just under 3 to 1 at the time of Operation Desert Storm” (NDU 1998, p. 13–5). The shot-to-kill ratio is the number of munitions or shots fired to destroy one target. Also,
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization The future of munitions is in high technology applications. Classic ammunition and dumb bombs, the things that go “boom,” are no longer the drivers…For the U.S., the MIB is shifting away from conventional munitions to PGMs…. Our reliance on PGMs means we stay strong only while technology drives the development of munitions. The days of massive munitions purchases, go-to-war plans based on overwhelming conventional explosive force, or toe-to-toe ground combat with an equal adversary have passed. Our clear strategic and tactical advantage is in deploying the most technologically sophisticated package of munitions against a less developed foe…. These munitions will not be produced in large numbers and they don’t have to be. (NDU 1998, pp. 13–20 and 13–21) The charge to the committee limited the study scope to conventional munitions. A fundamental question arises when considering the scenarios that indicate a rapidly declining reliance on conventional munitions. The fundamental question is the volume of conventional munitions that will be needed in the future. If the volume is as low as some studies (NDU 1998) assume, there would seem to be little point in modernizing the current MIB for the purpose of providing conventional munitions in large quantities. Under this scenario, the industrial base for PGMs may be capable of supporting production requirements of conventional munitions as well. Committee Analysis The committee does not currently have the expertise—if, indeed, anyone has—to determine the nature of future military engagements. However, it concluded that neither extreme view is likely to be correct far into the future. The United States should indeed continue developing and deploying ever-more-capable PGMs. It should also continue developing and deploying ever-more-capable conventional munitions in order to remain prepared for longer term engagements. Until this issue is resolved, the TIME program should progress under the assumption that, to be prepared for the range of potential conflicts, improvements in both precision-guided and conventional munitions will be required. The committee’s vision of the future U.S. MIB can be characterized as follows: The MIB must be capable of developing, producing, and deploying a wide array of ever-more-capable munitions, from dumb rounds to advanced PGMs. The distinction between producing conventional and smart munitions should diminish and eventually disappear.
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Munitions Manufacturing: A Call for Modernization The MIB must be capable of accommodating new developments in munitions, based on technological breakthroughs, including new explosive and propellant materials, laser-based munitions, and others yet to be conceived. The MIB must master the difficult art of manufacturing agility and scalability. It must be capable of responding rapidly to shifting production demands, in terms of both type and quantity of product. The MIB must master the difficult art of operating a virtual munitions enterprise, in which win-win partnerships with dual-use commercial manufacturers provide the volume capability to replenish munitions stockpiles. MIB production should achieve ever-better product quality, on-time delivery every time, ever-shorter development cycles, and ever-greater life-cycle value. This vision was adopted by the committee as a frame of reference for evaluating the TIME program.
Representative terms from entire chapter: