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NSWC Crane Division
Crane Army Ammunition Activity

Employing over 4,000 personnel, the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division operates as a Defense Business Operations Fund Command and depends on its ability to efficiently and effectively provide essential services and products to customers. The Crane Division is one of five divisions of NSWC which maintains a full spectrum research, development, acquisition, test and evaluation and support capability for surface warfare combat and weapon systems and hull, mechanical, and electrical systems.

The Crane Division is a leader in diverse and highly technical product lines such as microwave devices, acoustic sensors, small arms, microelectronic technology, as well as other products. It is also a leader in providing enhanced methods and technology in production of modern naval combat weapons systems.

Considering Crane's tenants, large contractors, and small contractors, as well as the operations of the navy itself, few organizations surpass Crane in their impact on South Central Indiana and the state overall. Crane is directly and indirectly responsible for almost 6,800 jobs in Indiana, and the over $241 million in wages associated with those jobs. It also adds over $22.2 million in tax revenues to state and local coffers.

The Crane Division is typical of many Department of Defense facilities that are undergoing dramatic changes through realignment and re-focusing of priorities. This Division has historically been regarded as a key manufacturing and engineering support facility for DOD; management has taken the challenging leadership role to look beyond its boundaries to other markets and potential customers.

The area which comprises Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, was Indian territory until the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. In 1817, Martin County, which contains most of the base, was formed from a portion of Daviess County. Settlers, predominantly from Virginia, Kentucky, and the Carolinas, arrived in the County during the early 1800's.

The population continued to grow to its all-time peak of 14,711 in 1900, fostered by the opening of the Milwaukee Railroad 10 years earlier. The opening of the rail line permitted intensive development of timber resources and provided the backbone of the local economy until about 1900. After the turn of the century, the population of Martin County began to decline in response to the depletion of timber resources. By 1930, the population of the County had fallen to half the level of 1900.

This population decline, also spurred by poor farming conditions, resulted in the complete abandonment of a large portion of Martin County. Some of this depleted land was reoccupied during the depression, but living standards in the county were low and the local governments were unable to provide the required level of services.

At this time, the United States Department of Agriculture proposed the White River Land Utilization Project. This project provided for the acquisition of 32,000 acres of the poorest land in Martin County with the goal of restoring its forest productivity and developing a state park. Thousands of trees were planted, along with shrubs and grasses, and check dams were built to control erosion. Approximately 90 acres of picnic areas were developed and a dam was constructed on Furst Creek to establish the 800-acre Lake Greenwood. Dedication of the White River Project was held on 15 September 1939.

Early in 1940, with the Second World War already begun in Europe, Congress passed the first supplemental National Defense Appropriation Act. This Act provided five million dollars for new inland ammunition production facilities, three million dollars of which were earmarked to build a Navy ammunition depot at Burns City on the site of the White River Project.

In addition to meeting the requirement of being far enough from the eastern seaboard to minimize the danger of enemy air attack, other factors added to the suitability of the Burns City area for building an ammunition facility. The site was remote and free from congested areas. The hilly terrain was ideal for magazine construction and camouflage, and Lake Greenwood could supply water for the facility. The area was traversed by two state highways, a railroad, and a 66,000-volt electric power transmission line. Limestone rock needed for building construction was available. The land could be obtained easily, and a suitable manpower pool was believed to exist.

The Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD), Burns City, Indiana, was commissioned on 1 December 1941. The initial mission was to prepare, load, renovate, receive, store, and issue all types of ammunition, including pyrotechnics and illuminating projectiles, and to act as a principal source of supply at a most critical time--the early days of World War II. In May, 1943, the depot was renamed the Naval Ammunition Depot, Crane, in honor of Commodore William Montgomery Crane, the Navy's first Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. During World War II, civilian employment reached almost 10,000 and more than 1,300 Navy and Marine Corps personnel were assigned to the installation.

In the years after the end of World War II, Crane began to develop the expertise in engineering and electronics that has carried the facility into a leadership position in today's Navy.

In 1947, the Bureau of Ordnance moved to expand its fledgling "quality control" laboratory system, which had been established to evaluate and determine the quality of ordnance materials stockpiled around the world. Because it was a major stocking point, a decision was made to establish a laboratory at NAD Crane. As the complexity and sophistication of weapons increased, the laboratory became involved in a widening scope of activities--developing testing methods, procedures, and equipment, and designing statistical tests--while the basic mission of the activity remained the same.

Employment dropped to 1,900 persons following World War II, increased to nearly 4,700 during the Korean conflict, then leveled off at about 2,000 for several years. However, in 1959, with the merger of the Bureau of Ordnance and the Bureau of Aeronautics into the Bureau of Weapons (BUWEPS), Crane was assigned responsibility for providing scientific and engineering support to new BUWEPS product areas owing to its "quality evaluation laboratory" resources and its ordnance production engineering experience. These new assignments included projects in such areas as electronics, rotating components, batteries, missile components, and aircraft/avionics equipment. As a result of these efforts, employment rose to nearly 2,900 by 1965, with a large portion of the increase made up of young engineers, scientists, and technicians.

In 1965/66, with the rapid buildup in support of Southeast Asian operations, NAD Crane became deeply involved with overall Fleet support. In addition to producing ordnance materials, Crane began providing technical support for weapons systems, including logistics, in-service engineering, repair, and overhaul as well as design support. Employment grew to more than 7,000--about half involved in ordnance production--during this period.

In 1970, recognition of the extent and diversity of Fleet support efforts resulted in the formation of a new department dedicated to providing engineering talent and expertise to in-service systems. The development, success, and growth of the Fleet Logistics Support Department led to new and additional assignments and, in 1975, resulted in changing the name of the depot to the Naval Weapons Support Center, Crane. The new name more accurately reflected Crane's true function and, with attendant mission statement changes, established NWSC Crane as a research, development, test, and evaluation center.

In 1977, another major change occurred with the designation of the Army as the single-service manager of conventional ammunition. This resulted in the establishment of a tenant command, the Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA). Headed by an Army Colonel, CAAA performed the loading, assembly, and storage of ammunition that had previously been the responsibility of the Crane Ordnance Department.

In January 1992, as a part of the ongoing reorganization of the Department of Defense, Crane was merged with the Naval Ordnance Station at Louisville, Kentucky to form the Crane Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. During the 1995 round of the Department of Defense's Base Realignment and Closure process, the BRAC Commission recommended that the Navy privatize both the Division's Louisville site and the Naval Air Warfare Center at Indianapolis, turning the facilities over to the respective cities and the work to contractors. The Louisville site officially become a contractor-operated facility in August of 1996.

During the 1990s, through retirement, early retirement and other separations, about 1,460 employees or 31 percent of the workforce at NSWC Crane have stopped working at the naval base. This reduction, although in the same order of magnitude as the closing of nearby industrial facilities of comparable size, has not attracted nearly the regional nor statewide attention-even though these plant closings were associated with jobs involving lower average annual wages. Since 1994, employment levels at NSWC Crane have declined steadily. Only in 1998 were more employees hired (170) than were lost (139) through retirement, early retirement and resignation (excluding removal and death). Since 1994, a total of 998 employees left their jobs while at the same time 461 were hired. Near the peak of employment at Crane, in 1991, the navy employed 4,700 Hoosiers at the base. As of July 2000, that number was down to 3,240, reflecting a net loss of 1,460 jobs in nine years.

Today, Crane serves a modern and sophisticated Navy as a recognized leader in diverse and highly technical product lines such as microwave devices, acoustic sensors, small arms, microelectronic technology, and more. The pride and professionalism of Crane's workforce have significantly benefited the Navy and the taxpayer through better products at lower cost. Crane stands as an industrial leader in providing better methods and technology in the production of modern naval combat weapons systems.

Crane has enhanced its potential to serve the Navy well into the future by such actions as recruiting and training the very best personnel, acquiring state of the art equipment and facilities, and development of modern management practices. In addition, significant advances have been made in developing and broadening of associated private sector capabilities, which will provide a strong technological base to meet emerging national defense requirements.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity

Crane Army Ammunition Activity is 35 miles southwest of Bloomington, IN. It includes 3,000 buildings, 400 miles of roads and trails, 170 miles of railroad, and an 800-acre lake.

Crane AAA was established as a Naval Ammunition Depot in 1941 to provide a storage and loading site away from the coast. Originally called Naval Ammunition Depot, Burns City, it was renamed in 1943 for Commodore William Montgomery Crane, first Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. After World War II, it became a major storage site for chemical munitions. Activity increased during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. In 1975, NAD Crane was renamed the Naval Weapons Support Center (NWSC Crane).

In 1977, the Army assumed control of ordnance production and transportation. Thus, Crane Army Ammunition Activity is a tenant of the naval facility. The Navy has maintained its RDT&E and logistic functions. It is now Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, which is a consolidation of the previous Crane and Naval Ordnance Station Louisville. The sites were combined in 1992.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity is an installation within the U.S. Army Industrial Operations Command, a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. The Activity is one of three government owned/government operated ammunition production facilities within the Department of Defense and was activated on October 1, 1977 in response to Department of Defense's implementation of the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition concept, which gave the Army the task of providing conventional ammunition/production/storage services to all branches of the military. The Activity's mission is to produce and renovate conventional ammunition and ammunition-related components; perform manufacturing, engineering, and product assurance in support of production; and store, ship, and/or demilitarize and dispose of conventional ammunition and related items.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity, a tenant activity at Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, is located on a 62,473-acre (a 100-square mile) site approximately thirty miles south of Bloomington, Indiana. This vast area includes 209 administrative and production buildings, 177 warehouses to store inert material, and 1,600 explosive magazines. The local infrastructure includes 168 miles of rail and 407 miles of road. The production, handling, and storage of munitions require specialized equipment and related facilities. The Activity maintains the only operational white phosphorous demilitarization conversion plant in North America. The technology contained in this plant allows the Activity to extract deadly white phosphorous from old munitions and convert it into relatively harmless phosphoric acid that may ultimately be used in carbonated beverages and fertilizer. X-ray equipment is used in the nondestructive, real time testing of items such as 40mm mortar rounds to ensure quality products to the warfighter. A variety of special lifting devices allows workers to easily handle objects as large as 1,000-pound bombs.

The Activity's manufacturing capabilities include the ability to produce finished items as diverse as detonators weighing only 20 grams to 40,000-pound cast shock test charges. The Activity has extensive renovation and maintenance capabilities for conventional munitions, and is the recognized center of technical expertise in the production of pyrotechnic devices including signal smoke, illuminating and infrared flares, and distress signals. The Activity is one of four Tier 1 Ammunition Storage Sites within the Department of Defense which stores war reserve ammunition to meet initial ammunition needs in the first 30 days of a conflict.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity's organizational structure includes four major directorates, one center, and five staff offices, which directly support the organization. For many years, quality at the Activity was achieved through a formal quality assurance program. In early 1997, however, a new approach to quality was undertaken. A Total Quality Office was established with a charter to focus on quality improvements within the organization. A formal Quality Council was established to oversee the efforts to improve quality throughout the entire organization. An activity based costing study was completed in October 1997 identifying the Activity's entire core and supporting processes. Process improvement opportunities are chosen from this list of processes and pursued by process action teams chartered by the Quality Council. In July 1998, the Activity became one of only a handful of organizations within the Federal Government to be ISO-9002 certified by a third-party registrar. Efforts continue to integrate Activity Based Management within a structured ISO-9002 environment by seeking to improve the processes which define the Activity and ensure quality products to the customer. Crane Army Ammunition Activity operates in a highly competitive environment, and the decision to seek ISO-9002 certification was made in order to partner with ISO-certified civilian contractors who would prefer, or in many cases be required, to only subcontract work to ISO-9000 certified organizations. In the time since becoming certified, the Activity has already won several contracts as a result of this strategy. For example, it recently won a five-year demilitarization contract with Parsons Brinckerhoff worth more than $50 million.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity's ultimate customers are the warfighters in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard who use the products. The Activity's defect rate in the area of manufacturing is closely monitored to ensure that only quality goods are shipped. The Activity's record for the delivery of munitions to the field is exceptional with a 99% on-time delivery rate. The Activity consistently strives to be the best in the business of producing and supplying ordnance material to U.S. fighting forces, and the high volume of repeat business is an important indicator of its high level of customer satisfaction.

To partner with local businesses, Crane Army Ammunition Activity and its host, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division developed the Crane Regional Economic Development Organization. The Activity's management holds two positions on the board. The purpose of this organization is for the Activity to team with local businesses on projects that will aid both public and private industry. In addition, it has joined with the Indiana Department of Commerce, area chambers of commerce, and Indiana Business Modernization and Technology Corporation, to develop and expand the state's economy.

C-4 is an explosive compound used in certain munitions. The Activity recently acquired a C-4 extruder from the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, which now gives it the ability to re-use C-4 from existing munitions with an estimated cost savings of more than $67 million to the U.S. Marine Corps. The Activity's surveillance test area modernization will be completed in this calendar year. This facility will be used by surveillance inspectors to test and certify munitions stored at the Activity. The Activity's container transfer process has also been enhanced with the construction of new facilities. This will increase the efficiency with which it is able to ship or receive munitions by increasing out-load capabilities from 95 containers per day to 310 containers per day ' an increase of 200%.

During FY99, Crane Army Ammunition Activity established an internal record by logging approximately 670,000 work-hours without a lost workday case. During the last fiscal year, the Activity received the Army Materiel Command's Fire Prevention and Protection Award in addition to Honorable Mention for the Indiana Governor's Award for Excellence in Pollution Prevention.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Sierra Army Depot, CA, by relocating Demilitarization to Crane Army Ammunition Activity and another installation. Capacity and capability for storage existed at numerous munitions sites. To reduce redundancy and remove excess from the Industrial Base, the realignment would allow DoD to create centers of excellence and remove inefficiencies.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Kansas Army Ammunition Plant (AAP), KS, and would relocate Detonators/relays/delays to Crane Army Ammunition Activity, IN. Capacity and capability for Artillery, Mortars, Missiles, and Pyro/Demo existed at numerous munitions sites. There were 8 sites producing Artillery, 5 producing Mortars, 9 producing Pyro/Demo, and 13 performing Demilitarization. To reduce redundancy and remove excess from the Industrial Base, the closure would allow DoD to create centers of excellence, avoid single point failure, and generate efficiencies. Environmentally, this recommendation would have possible water resources impact at Crane. Significant mitigation measures would have to be taken to limit releases into waterway. This recommendation would have potential impact on air quality at Crane AAA. Crane AAA might need upgrades to industrial wastewater treatment to handle additional lead wastes.

In another recommendation, DoD recommended to close Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant (AAP), TX. It would relocate Demolition Charges functions to Crane Army Ammunition Activity (AAA). Capacity and capability for Artillery, Mortars, Missiles, Pyro/Demo, and Storage existed at numerous munitions sites. There were 8 sites producing Artillery, 5 producing Mortars, 9 producing Pyro-Demo, 15 performing storage, and 13 performing Demilitarization. To reduce redundancy and remove excess from the Industrial Base, the closure would allow DoD to create centers of excellence, avoid single point failure, and generate efficiencies. Goal is to establish multi-functional sites performing Demilitarization, Production, Maintenance, and Storage. Lone Star primarily performed only one of the 4 functions.

DoD recommended to realign Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, IN, by relocating all Weapons and Armaments Research, Development & Acquisition, and Test & Evaluation, except gun/ammo, combat system security, and energetic materials to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, CA. All actions would relocate technical facilities with lower overall quantitative Military Value (across Research, Development & Acquisition and Test & Evaluation) into the Integrated RDAT&E center and other receiver sites with greater quantitative Military Value. Consolidating the Navy's air-to-air, air-to-ground, and surface launched missile RD&A, and T&E activities at China Lake, CA, would create an efficient integrated RDAT&E center. China Lake would be able to accommodate with minor modification/addition both mission and lifecycle/ sustainment functions to create synergies between these traditionally independent communities. This recommendation would enable technical synergy, and position the Department of Defense to exploit center-of-mass scientific, technical and acquisition expertise with weapons and armament Research, Development & Acquisition that resided at 10 locations into the one Integrated RDAT&E site, one specialty site, and an energetics site. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 375 jobs (258 direct jobs and 117 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Martin County, IN, economic area (4.4 percent).

DoD would also realign Naval Surface Warfare Center Division Crane, IN, by relocating gun and ammunition Research and Development & Acquisition to Picatinny Arsenal, NJ. This recommendation would realign and consolidate those gun and ammunition facilities working in Weapons and Armaments (W&A) Research (R), Development & Acquisition (D&A). This realignment would result in a more robust joint center for gun and ammunition Research, Development & Acquisition at Picatinny Arsenal. This location was already the greatest concentration of military value in gun and ammunition W&A RD&A. This recommendation would include Research, Development & Acquisition activities in the Army and Navy. It would promote jointness, enable technical synergy, and position the Department of Defense to exploit center-of-mass scientific, technical, and acquisition expertise within the weapons and armament Research, Development & Acquisition community that resided at this DoD specialty location. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 421 jobs (289 direct jobs and 132 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in Martin County, IN, economic area (4.9 percent).

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:46:30 ZULU