The Approach to Munitions Replenishment
Reduced worldwide demand for munitions in the 1990s has had a dramatic impact on the U.S. munitions manufacturing industrial base. In a national emergency, requirements for munitions may rapidly increase by an order of magnitude or more. Such events may require significantly more production facilities and resources than are currently available to satisfy requirements. According to reports by the National Defense University (NDU 1996, 1997, 1998), although the United States remains the world leader in munitions technology, the nation’s ability to rapidly produce high-technology weapons on a large scale has diminished. Over the 3-year period from 1996 through 1998 the reports are increasingly strident on this issue.
MUNITIONS REPLENISHMENT POLICY
During the Cold War, munitions planning strategies designed to address the potential threat of major conflict relied heavily on domestic surge production and mobilization capacity. In response to perceptions of reduced threats, the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) current policy places greater reliance on the ability of the existing stockpile to meet munitions requirements for the armed services of the United States and its closest allies through two near-simultaneous major regional conflicts. This policy seeks to leverage the firepower of the stockpile through gradual acquisition and deployment of precision-guided, smart munitions. Current policy stipulates that the munitions stockpile, with routine production, must be able to meet peacetime needs (training, testing, and replacement of obsolete munitions; sales to foreign governments; and weapons upgrading) and support two near-simultaneous major regional conflicts. When conflicts occur, munitions stockpiles may be drawn down to the point at which large orders for replenishment are placed and the routine manufacturers are unable to accommodate the surge in demand within their own organizations. When that occurs, the policy stipulates that the munitions manufacturing base must be capable of replenishing the stockpile following those conflicts within 3 years (GAO 1996a). Under this policy, there is no longer a requirement to surge the munitions base during conflicts.
In implementing this new munitions planning strategy, DoD has been seeking to divest itself of munitions plants, equipment, and labor by closing down
some operations and by transferring other selected assets to private industry. It has proven challenging to achieve the transfers in an economically feasible manner, that is, in such a way that it can be at least somewhat profitable for the commercial operators (NDU 1997). One of the approaches to increased profitability being considered by the Totally Integrated Munitions Enterprise (TIME) program involves scaling munitions facilities for continuous runs at variable production rates. This could be accomplished, for example, in facilities designed for highly flexible production in which the equipment and workforce have alternative commercial uses.
TOTALLY INTEGRATED MUNITIONS ENTERPRISE REPLENISHMENT STRATEGY
The TIME program’s strategy for supporting DoD’s new replenishment policy is to use modern manufacturing technologies to create a flexible base for munitions manufacturing. Peacetime needs will be met by means of routine production using the organic base. Stockpile replenishment following a regional conflict will be achieved in the following sequence (PNNL 1997; McWilliams 1999): (1) utilize commercial capacity first; (2) utilize warmest (most readily reactivated) organic capacity next that most closely matches the need; (3) if necessary, activate cold (laid away) organic capacity.
This strategy calls for products to be concurrently produced at multiple locations (both organic and commercial) to meet peacetime and replenishment requirements. There are implicit assumptions in this strategy. First, it assumes that there exists a set of commercial firms willing and able to maintain dual-use production facilities that are normally used for commercial production but are capable of being rapidly converted to munitions production. Second, it assumes that an enormous amount of data (product requirements, engineering designs and processes, machine tool numerical control programs, production control instructions, quality and safety requirements, etc.) can be communicated accurately and in a timely manner between the Army, the Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center, and commercial and organic manufacturing sites.
TIME’s approach to the replenishment (as opposed to routine production) of metal parts and electronic components relies heavily on the prenegotiated conversion and ramp-up of dual-use manufacturing capacity at producers of commercial products. For energetics production, TIME anticipates scale-up of commercial munitions suppliers. The TIME program intends to facilitate this use of commercial suppliers by improving communications between Army facilities and replenishment suppliers. Using the TEAM methodology to interface Army computer systems with those of suppliers, TIME will develop procedures for assuring the timeliness and quality of supplier production.
It is intended that the Army be able to download production processes and remotely monitor or control the supplier’s machine, as required. The Army would be able to direct the machine to execute a series of actions up to and including the machining of standard test pieces. These moves and test pieces
can be measured on the machine with machine-mounted probes and the results can be sent in real-time to the Army. TIME anticipates that by downloading the latest dimensions and processes directly to the machine controller, the probability of high-quality initial production under replenishment conditions can be substantially enhanced. Finally, when first-article inspection is carried out on the supplier’s coordinate measuring machine, the results can be reported simultaneously to the Army. During production, routine sampling inspection results are similarly sent to the Army in real time.
The TIME program anticipates that the normal steady-state munitions producers will not be able to accommodate all of the replenishment requirements within their own organizations. Therefore, manufacturing technologies (designs and processes) must be transferred rapidly to other manufacturers who typically have agreed in advance, in return for consideration, to make some or all of their production capacity available in times of need. Most of this equipment will ordinarily be used for commercial production, although some may stand idle until needed. The replenishment manufacturer may, or may not, have substantial experience in munitions production.
CONCERNS REGARDING REPLENISHMENT
In assessing the TIME program’s approach to replenishment, the committee used several perspectives from commercial industry, including a technology transfer approach and a supply chain management approach.
Commercial Manufacturing Environment in the Year 2000
The TIME program is driven by both the ongoing need for conventional munitions and the need for emerging sets of smart munitions and advanced energetics (explosives, pyrotechnics, and propellants) that will increasingly be used in future conflicts. The problem that TIME addresses—the assured supply of parts and assemblies—is not unlike the challenge faced by all commercial industries. The trend in modern manufacturing is to focus on core competencies, while outsourcing production of components not identified as part of the company’s core competency. This has led to a large increase in the importance of relationships with suppliers; this set of relationships is called the “extended enterprise.” Indeed, TIME is the Army’s recognition of the need for a ready, healthy, technology-enabled, extended munitions enterprise.
As a general premise, there is no need for the TIME program to be a cutting edge technological leader in modern manufacturing. Commercial industry is moving rapidly and the munitions industry can be vastly improved merely by using the increasingly effective tools being deployed in the commercial sector. Narrow manufacturing technology gaps may appear, primarily as they relate to military-specific munitions industry requirements. It is in these gaps that TIME will need to make an innovative technological contribution, and it is important that TIME work continuously to identify and resolve these gaps.
Numerous up-to-date, commercially proven technologies will be needed, including state-of-the-market information systems that can introduce efficiencies into the supply chain. This level of capability does not broadly exist in the organic munitions industrial base today. Most of the manufacturing processes within the organic facilities are not equipped to operate in such an interactive environment. Much of the design and process data for conventional munitions exist on paper drawings or are not documented at all. The Army is in the process of scanning the paper drawings into electronic databases, though in most organic munitions manufacturing facilities the computer capabilities required to access and use these databases are limited or nonexistent. Their communications networks are totally inadequate to support these requirements.
Conclusion: The committee has concluded that many of the fundamental elements required to support the DoD munitions replenishment policy are either not adequate or not in place.
It would be helpful for the Army to classify its existing munitions into the following categories: (1) those that are most critical for the foreseeable future, (2) those that are not as critical but will still need to be supported for some time, and (3) those that can be declared obsolete.
The systems currently required to support each munition need to be documented. This documentation should include data such as (1) whether product information is on paper drawings, 2-D CAD, or 3-D CAD; (2) whether processing data are available; and (3) what, if any, specialized equipment is needed to manufacture the item. This information could then be used to determine which of the munitions are supportable based on considerations such as the following: (1) Data are usable as is, and replenishment participants are available with supporting systems, (2) Data must be translated to a new system because of obsolete existing equipment, (3) Data are not available and must be created or restored.
The results of this analysis would provide the basis for making decisions regarding preferred data and processing systems to be required of the supply chain. When current systems are no longer supportable, a decision would be made to convert to a preferred new system, considering transferability of the existing product data. Once preferred systems are defined for existing munitions support, the expansion of the preferred system could be considered for new product realization but with the requirement that the additional systems would not cause a proliferation of systems that might have limited value and compatibility.
Remote Operation of Equipment
Although it is technologically feasible to remotely operate equipment, implementation of such operation requires extensive safety interlocks to prevent damage or injury. Such remote operations are typically found in continuous process industries, such as power plants, chemical plants, oil refineries, and
processors of energetic materials. Typically, these are operations in which, for safety reasons, few or no operators are present on site and it is cost-effective to automate the processes. In the opinion of the committee, it is unlikely that remote operation of machine shops will become accepted practice as long as operators must be in the vicinity of the equipment to perform operations such as loading or unloading of parts and are thereby subjected to the risk of unexpected motion of the machine.
Agile, Lean Manufacturing
One of the cornerstones of the TIME program is its reliance for replenishment on contracts with commercial corporations with dual-use production capabilities. Many of these companies are, in accordance with current business trends, evolving to perform only specialized (and limited) functions in the manufacturing supply chain. Thus, the TIME program must be nimble in building relationships with manufacturers whose definitions of core competency are evolving. The original agile manufacturing vision adopted by these companies stated that as opportunities or needs arose, they would rapidly move into and out of associations with other companies. The reality is that the coupling and uncoupling of enterprises is proving to be more difficult than originally thought.
One reason is that this vision ignored the value and importance of long-term working relationships, contract performance, and issues of trust. Corporations, to the extent possible, are risk averse. Although proprietary design and financial data must be shared in modern supply chains, companies still go to great lengths to guard their proprietary information and intellectual property. Business-to-business information systems capable of supporting agile, lean manufacturing are becoming available but are not yet universally used. Once communications, working relationships, and trust have been established, there is reluctance to change suppliers unless the supplier is not capable of performing as new products are developed and enter production.
For example, in the automobile industry, there has been a concerted effort to limit the number of suppliers. At the same time, there has been a concerted effort to qualify the remaining suppliers so that accepted norms for quality of product are ensured. In addition, some responsibility for component design has been delegated to suppliers. The result is fewer suppliers and fewer changes in suppliers. Likewise, in the munitions manufacturing industry, the same phenomena are supporting a reduction in the number of suppliers and a solidification of working relationships along the supply chain. The shrinking global market for munitions is accelerating this process significantly.
A driving force in the enterprise-splitting process is the desire of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or prime contractors (typically design, assembly, and marketing companies) to limit risk. In the enterprise splitting process, risk is placed directly on each independent element of the manufacturing supply chain. Thus, in an agile, lean manufacturing world, survival of the fittest becomes much more focused. Weaker elements of the
manufacturing chain that historically were protected by stronger elements within the vertically integrated corporation are no longer protected. Once the entities become separated, each element of the manufacturing supply chain is forced to rise to a competitive industry standard or be eliminated. While issues of trust and communication often slow the process, competition results in continual pruning of the overall manufacturing enterprise. Successful survivors of this competitive process tend to be lean, having maximized their returns on capital. They are not able to maintain great amounts of surge capacity and still compete effectively in the marketplace. Thus, some dual-use military manufacturing capacity (and capabilities) may not survive the outsourcing integrated-enterprise movement unless protected or subsidized by the government. For example, during Operation Desert Storm, the United States found itself dependent on Japan to supply certain computer chips that were not available domestically. If this trend continues, the United States will become far more dependent on its allies for critical manufacturing capabilities. This situation may not serve the best interests of the nation, however, and it may be necessary to find acceptable alternatives considering risk, availability, and cost.
Simply put, competitive requirements for increasing supply chain efficiency will force a closer match of capacity with demand in the modern manufacturing environment. The cost of maintaining excess capacity dedicated to munitions replenishment, unless it is supported artificially, will make firms in the modern manufacturing environment less competitive than their leaner peers. Thus, it is likely that DoD must increasingly depend on preidentified dual use manufacturing capacity for replenishment. This may result in a substantial challenge for the TIME program and greater commercial economic dislocations and impact in times of crisis. Given the age of much of the equipment in the current munitions industrial base (MIB), planning for modernization and for activation of dual-use manufacturing capability needs to include identification of substitutes for specialized equipment in the current MIB, where alternatives are not currently available in the event of failure. It is within this environment that the TIME program must negotiate a dependable replenishment capability.
Recommendation: The TIME program should (1) create or update detailed plans to meet the DoD replenishment requirements, including the types of machinery required to do the job for the foreseeable future, and (2) update surveys or inventories of capabilities of the existing munitions industry and potential replenishment participants and keep these surveys up-to-date.
Replenishment as a Technology Transfer Problem
The rapid transfer of technology from routine producers of munitions to dual-use and mothballed replenishment facilities and their suppliers is critical to the TIME program’s approach to replenishment. The committee defined “technology transfer,” for purposes of replenishment, as the process by which designs, processes, data, knowledge, and other information used in the routine
production of munitions are transferred to replenishment facilities and their supply chains.
Technology transfer in commercial industry is typically a difficult, expensive, and complex process that can be fraught with risk, especially if timelines are critical. Factors that can impede or hinder the successful transfer of technology can include the following (Cooke and Mayes 1996):
Lack of technological awareness, knowledge, and support;
Lack of funds;
Conflicts of interest due to potential impacts on the competitive positions of the participants;
Lack of trust;
Lack of appropriate equipment and infrastructure; and
Lack of time to complete and validate the transfer.
In the context of absorbing new technology, knowing why a particular technology works is often as important as knowing how to make it work. Because technology transfer can depend on the transfer of knowledge within the specific context of the adopting facility, an understanding of the reasons for a particular technological choice can be essential for successful implementation. This also implies the need for strong understanding of the processes being transferred in the routine munitions production organizations endeavoring to transfer technology (NRC 1995).
Because much technical know-how is typically unwritten and difficult to document, successful technology transfer may require extensive person-to-person contact, often involving the transfer of personnel from the sending to the receiving organizations for extended periods. The committee believes that this situation is likely to pose a serious challenge in the event that replenishment is required because (1) due to low ongoing rates of routine production, there are few remaining munitions manufacturing experts; and (2) their expertise will be required to ramp up their own facilities during the crisis. Developing expertise in some aspects of munitions manufacturing can be time-consuming. Thus, the TIME program must find a way to retain a cadre of trained munitions manufacturing experts sufficient to support replenishment if and when needed. Without them, TIME program replenishment plans are a hollow exercise.
Because surprises that can lead to cost overruns frequently occur during the process of transferring technologies, sufficient funding must be made available to cover these unanticipated events. Budgeting for unanticipated costs can be difficult within the federal budgeting process, so the TIME program must (1) be prudent in properly anticipating technology transfer and production start-up costs, and (2) write replenishment contracts in such a way as to minimize disruption of the technology transfer process due to concerns about funding when unanticipated problems arise.
In spite of the problems associated with technology transfer that are discussed above, the committee believes that, due to the likelihood of a compelling sense of urgency and the overriding importance of success in the
event of a need for replenishment, many of the challenges that typically occur during commercial technology transfers are unlikely to be significant problems. Typical challenges include lack of trust between organizations, resistance in the receiving organization to the new technologies because they were “not invented here,” and clashes between corporate cultures.
A definitive plan of deployment (and demonstration) of the technology associated with technology transfer is needed for all critical munitions. A complete, detailed plan for technology transfer has yet to be formalized by the TIME program, an exercise that is likely to reveal the magnitude of munitions industry challenges in this area.
Labor Force for Replenishment
There are several categories of munitions manufacturers: (1) those who manufacture on a routine basis and, in the event of a national emergency, will ramp up as rapidly as possible; (2) the “laid away” or “cold” base (which consists of existing plants that are not currently in operation); and (3) those who manufacturer commercial products on a routine basis using equipment (such as lathes, milling machines, and punch presses) that can be considered dual-use (usable for both commercial and defense needs). The latter will, by prior contractual agreement, convert their productions from commercial to defense work in the event of an emergency. The operators of such dual-use equipment will already be using most of the skills required to build defense parts in the course of their daily work making commercial products. Their specific skills will, in some cases, need to be upgraded or broadened to meet defense needs. The latest specific dimensions and processes for defense parts will be downloaded to the dual-use manufacturers from the routine production houses. The rest of the information must come from in-house databases, learning packets, or previously trained operators. The bigger challenge lies in finding and training new workers hired for scale-up.
An agile workforce, including both the experts to successfully transfer manufacturing technologies and the expanded workforce to produce munitions, is important for achieving the readiness goals of the TIME program. A critical component of agility is the ability of the workforce within an organization to maintain existing knowledge and to rapidly acquire new knowledge as circumstances change. Methods must be developed for assessing workforce readiness within the integrated munitions enterprise. Readiness must be assessed from several different data sources, but all data must be synthesized into easy-to-understand metrics that can be monitored. This assessment must be contextual to fit the different needs of those within and outside the TIME organization.
State of the Art
Readiness of the workforce in a munitions enterprise organization can be defined in terms of skill sets. The needed skill set consists of the collective skills of the workforce needed to accomplish the tasks of replenishment. The current skill set consists of the collective skills currently possessed by the workforce, that is, (1) the skills of workers performing routine munitions production, (2) the skills of workers routinely operating dual-use equipment for commercial applications, and (3) the skills (probably limited) of workers in other segments of the labor pool that will be recruited in the event of a replenishment scenario.
The committee assumes that the present munitions workforce will be expanded in times of replenishment so as to meet DoD needs and, if possible, to simultaneously maintain limited commercial production. The committee also assumes that new workers will arrive with a limited skill set relative to that needed for munitions production. The difference between the needed and current skill sets represents an “organizational learning gap.” Participating organizations must be able to bridge their learning gaps efficiently under replenishment conditions through training, use of archived documentation, accessible training programs, or structural changes. Structural changes usually involve reorganizing or increasing communication channels. The state of the art can be evaluated in terms of existing tools and theories that already have or could affect developments and procedures in this area.
The overall construct for understanding the readiness of munitions manufacturing organizations can be in terms of organizational learning (e.g., Debenham and Clark 1994; Lewis 1997; Perneski 1992; Prytz et al. 1997). Most research on organizational learning has focused on either its characteristics (e.g., identifying features of organizations that exhibit the ability to learn) (Senge 1990) or structures (e.g., “warehousing” of knowledge in “experience factories” within the organization) (Basili et al. 1994). Both approaches are important for munitions manufacturing organizations. In particular, these organizations should be evaluated to determine if they have the structures and capabilities for learning. Warehousing knowledge should be considered especially important for replenishment organizations because of the long time periods between running the manufacturing lines for defense purposes. Easy access to the knowledge or experience will be important for readiness.
Needs Assessment Tools
Traditionally, the skill set required by an organization has been determined through needs assessments. A needs assessment is an evaluation of instructional requirements and is performed to identify, document, and validate gaps between what is and what should be and to prioritize the need to fill the
gaps (Kaufman 1986). Needs assessments are typically performed at irregular intervals using paper-and-pencil questionnaires and face-to-face meetings. Low return rates on the questionnaires limit the effectiveness of the information received, and time and location constraints for face-to-face meetings lengthen the process.
An Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) (Gery 1989; Raybould 1990; Reynolds 1993) is a specialized computer program that incorporates a variety of support tools designed to assist workers at their jobs and, thus, help organizations assess training needs. Usually, an EPSS includes an expert system, computer-assisted instruction, and databases. Electronic assessment tools, such as an EPSS, can be combined with on-line data collection and computer-supported cooperative-work components so that data can be collected quickly and continuously.
A needs assessment should result in job descriptions and a corresponding set of skills that the organization must possess in order to accomplish its goals. The gaps between the current skills and the needed skills must be identified. These gaps can be bridged through organizational learning if the knowledge is already resident in house or can be transferred in. A needs assessment, therefore, should also determine the skills that can be transferred to satisfy the needs. Part of the TIME program’s challenge should be to determine the most efficient means of transferring skills to satisfy the needs.
The munitions industry should use a database titled the Occupational Information Network, or O*NET, currently being developed by the Department of Labor (DoL 2000). This database describes over 1,100 occupations, can be used to locate occupations by skill requirements or key words, and has information on the transferability of skills. Proper use of the database can provide information on the organizational learning gap, efficient methods for transforming into the needed state of organizational learning, and time predictions for moving from the current skill set to the desired skill set.
Theoretical Approaches for Organizational Learning
Organizational learning and the current knowledge within an organization can be understood by using an analogy to human learning. Theories in the neurosciences (e.g., McClelland et al. 1995) state that knowledge exists within the neurons and synapses of the brain. Clusters of neurons, perhaps representing a concept or an object, are formed when individual neurons are connected by synapses. Learning occurs via repeated specific sequences of synapse “firings,” thereby establishing these connections between neurons. The synapse connections must be renewed continuously for knowledge to be maintained.
This “neuro-learning” model can be used to understand organizational learning. The “neurons” of an organization can be either the individual skills possessed by humans or external documentation (e.g., reports, technical specifications, electronically transferred files, etc.). Just as an isolated neuron in the brain that is unconnected to other neurons does not contain knowledge, an
unread report, a never-used training program, and an individual with skills who is isolated within an organization do not contain organizational knowledge. Organizational “neurons” must be clustered and connected to constitute organizational knowledge.
Clusters of skills, and thus the knowledge within an organization, will occur when connections (the “synapses”) are formed between the organizational neurons. Connections can occur at three or more levels: (1) person (one can assume that skills possessed by an individual are clustered and, thus, connected); (2) proximal locations (individuals with skills clustered in an office area have open communication channels, although they may not always be used); and (3) organizational networks (meetings, telephone, e-mail, intranets, and the Internet can be used to establish somewhat temporary connections between individuals).
A neuro-learning representation of the organization, such as this, provides a model that can be used to indicate how organizational learning occurs. The model indicates that knowledge in an organization can be created in two ways: (1) by creating new nodes (“neurons”) with skills specific to the needs of the munitions manufacturer, and (2) by connecting existing nodes through “synaptic” relations to create knowledge from individual pieces of information from sources both inside and outside of the organization. In addition, this model indicates that “synaptic” connections will be destroyed if they are not used. In a replenishment-only (dual-use) organization, this is especially relevant because, in the absence of a national emergency, some of the training and skills of the workforce required for munitions manufacturing may not be utilized for long periods of time. Information is needed on how to maintain the “synapses,” through integrated training programs, so that the organization can retain its knowledge in a cost-efficient manner. This is especially critical in a fast-moving technological environment in which even new knowledge becomes quickly eclipsed.
Theoretical Approaches for Representing Organizational Learning
Users, inside or outside the TIME organization, must be able to query the state of organizational learning and, consequently, the readiness of replenishment suppliers. Organizational learning must, therefore, be represented and quantified in database form such that multiple users can obtain the information they need without having access to information outside of their needs. Research on data cubes (e.g., Gray et. al. 1996), a concept developed in computer science, can be applied to the TIME database needs. Data cubes are typically used to represent commercial data used in decision support systems, also called on-line analytical processing. The cube is made up of cells, each of which records some numerical value of interest. The dimensions of the cube (any number, not just three as implied by the cube term) correspond to various orthogonal properties of interest. In terms of the skills represented in organizational learning, therefore, a data cube could be analogous to a “skill cube” (i.e., a multidimensional space corresponding to fundamental skills). The
database should be constructed from information in the organization such as job descriptions; locations of employees; and existing clusters, networks, and communication channels.
Queries in data cubes are handled in interactive sessions in which users can “roll up” (i.e., move up the hierarchy along some dimension) or “drill down” (i.e., move down the hierarchy). These queries all involve aggregation of values stored in various sets of cells along different dimensions. The set of skills possessed by an individual can be mapped to a point or perhaps a small region in this multidimensional skill cube. The collective set of the points corresponding to the employees of a specific organization can identify the skills asset of the enterprise. Skill sets must be carefully designed, recognizing that content is more important than data manipulation. A single quantifiable value of organizational learning or knowledge would be an important and easy-to understand metric for monitoring and mapping the readiness of the organization over time.
Managing Workforce Maintenance and Development
The TIME program has yet to systematically consider workforce maintenance and development issues. Managers of the TIME program realize that workers in the replenishment plants may need a slightly different set of skills to manufacture metal and plastic components. Extensive training in safety and handling will be needed for those new workers processing energetics or packing and loading finished munitions. The committee is not aware that a needs assessment has been performed, or that the differences between needed and available skill sets have been identified, or that a program for acquiring the needed skills through recruitment and training has been layed out. The committee recognizes that there are no easy answers to questions such as how much training should be done now for skills that may not be needed for 10 years or may become obsolete. Managers within replenishment organizations and monitors from the Army need to assess the readiness of these organizations on an ongoing basis. TIME currently has no method for tracking readiness or determining the implications for readiness when workforce changes occur. An overall model of organizational learning is needed so that training can be rapidly implemented when needed.
Recommendation: TIME, as part of its replenishment plans, needs a human resources strategy that includes a recruitment plan, documenting and archiving of process details and required skills in anticipation of need, and well-prepared training plans that take advantage of up-to-date knowledge of how people and organizations learn. In that such documentation and training can never be complete, the munitions industry should prepare and implement plans for retaining key manufacturing skills for purposes of training, if needed.
Recommendation: The TIME replenishment plans should include agreements to use the human resources departments in the companies with whom they sign dual-use contracts. TIME should carefully review the human resource capabilities of the companies prior to signing contracts and monitor their capabilities as part of periodic readiness reviews. In addition, this information should be included in the capabilities database describing the equipment and process capabilities of the firm.
In anticipation of a national emergency each company that has agreed to make dual-use capabilities available should have the following capabilities in place and ready for implementation on defense manufacturing: (1) up-to-date databases of skills that can be matched against specific government needs under a variety of preselected scenarios, and (2) a method for tying this information to a decision-support tool that enables individual employees and managers to determine, from a host of options, the education or training that can best fit their current skill sets and the replenishment needs at the time of crisis. Management should also have access to a decision-support tool to make rapid, cost-effective decisions about hiring needs, the impact of job transfers, and the need and timing of training programs. Prior to a replenishment need, outside education and training vendors should be able to access the tool to respond, through courseware development, to the anticipated educational and training needs of the organization.
The costs associated with different training scenarios should also be accessible for effective decision making. Given the current and desired skill set and the available retraining mappings from the O*NET database, decision makers should be able to identify optimal or cost-effective alternatives for training and maintaining the skills of the organization’s workforce.
The TIME program or large dual-use participants should procure and utilize a decision-support tool satisfying the above needs. Construction of such a tool requires the ability to model the current and desired states of organizational knowledge. A neuro-learning model represented by a data cube could fulfill these requirements. The information could then be used to assist TIME enterprises in organizational learning, thus helping to rapidly transform them from the current to the desired state in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
Maintenance of Replenishment Manufacturing Capability
For conventional weapons, replenishment capacity for final assembly may not be the most critical issue, since safety and security requirements for these processes result in the U.S. Army maintaining specialized government-owned/government-operated facilities for final assembly. However, manufacturing tasks at lower tiers in the supply chain are more likely to be performed by the dual-use commercial sector. As noted before, the maturing of agile manufacturing is trimming industrial capacities that can potentially meet dual-use requirements.
As a first step in the replenishment analysis process, it is important to quantify the potential requirement on the industrial manufacturing base. A relatively straightforward methodology for the assessment of the risks of an agile manufacturing industrial base can be found in Jones (1995). Implementation of this methodology by the TIME program would likely provide valuable insights for estimating the scope of the problem, as TIME proceeds to begin the process of negotiating dual-use contracts. As Army program managers begin the process, they should verify that the Federal Acquisition Regulations will permit them to negotiate contracts that will enable rapid, cost-effective procurement of munitions when needed for replenishment.
With rapid changes in the U.S. industrial base, TIME must carefully negotiate contracts and regularly monitor the status of equipment and workforces under these dual-use agreements to minimize readiness surprises in the event of national crises. Due to current trends in supply chain integration that are leading to dramatically reduced industrial inventories, agreements for capacities and inventories should be negotiated and monitored several levels down into the supply chain.
As is clear from studies as early as 1996 by the National Defense University and from reviewing the DoD replenishment plan, unless there is an immediate danger to the continental United States, it is likely that future conflicts will not include a concerted industrial mobilization. In other words, most future wars will probably be fought while the U.S. industrial base is operating in a business-as-usual mode, although precontracted dual-use capacity will be called on, if needed, after a second regional conflict. Merely having the ability to transfer manufacturing technology from company to company may be useless if there is insufficient immediate excess capacity in the commercial industrial base or if there are not contractual agreements in place, down the manufacturing supply chain to raw materials, to enable rapid conversion of commercial industrial capacity to military industrial capacity.
Another key issue that the committee believes should be accorded further attention by the TIME program is that of rapidly reconfigurable equipment. This is a topic receiving much attention in the commercial world because of rapidly evolving customer demands and product configurations. It should be a central theme of plans to utilize dual-use commercial equipment for replenishment. In recognition of the importance of this concept for both commercial and defense manufacturing, the National Science Foundation recently funded a center for rapidly reconfigurable equipment at the University of Michigan The committee suggests that the TIME program identify ways in which the munitions industry can avail itself of the capabilities of centers of expertise in reconfigurable equipment.
The Army has yet to begin to take advantage of techniques such as information-based supply chain management, which are used in commercial industry to reduce obsolete inventories and increase the responsiveness of OEMs and suppliers to changing product needs. This is not to say that large munitions stockpiles can be totally eliminated. Rather, it is to suggest some of the huge potential savings that can accrue from a dramatic transformation of the MIB. Labor-intensive munitions production facilities that manufacture relatively
simple munitions potentially can be downsized. Emerging needs for flexible, advanced energetics production and storage facilities can be funded in part by closing down obsolete facilities. These new facilities can employ a smaller, more flexible, more highly skilled workforce and can use a wide variety of sophisticated production methods and technologies.