Tag: nsa crane

NSA Crane Leadership Shares Plans for Mission Growth and Community Partnerships

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane leadership delivered the third annual “State of the Installation” address about its plans for mission growth and enhancing community partnerships during the White River Military Coordination Alliance’s (WRMCA) fourth-quarter meeting. 

Leaders from NSA Crane have delivered this address to WRMCA since its inauguration in 2018. WRMCA, which includes state and local government officials, regional and local economic development officials, and Crane representatives, was formed to strengthen the relationship between NSA Crane and the surrounding communities. 

The “State of the Installation” address provides an opportunity for Crane to share strategic goals, operational changes, and proposed construction projects that may impact the Alliance membership. 

This year’s address was given by NSA Crane Commanding Officer CDR James L. Smith, who took command in 2020. Smith’s address included the following key updates and opportunities for community collaboration:

  • Infrastructure and growth plans: Crane plans to restart construction of the Underwater Launch Test Complex in 2022. This represents a $100 million investment in infrastructure and programs with the addition of its new tenant, the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office Systems Engineering Field Activity. 
  • Job trends: NSWC Crane seeks to hire college graduates in technical fields. Crane Army Ammunition Activity continues to fill roles in logistics, analytics, robotics, and trades such as machinists as it works to develop and implement modernization plans.
  • Trending research areas: Smith highlighted areas for potential growth in cutting-edge technology research, including advanced hypersonics and trusted microelectronics.
  • Opportunities for collaboration: Smith identified opportunities to continue to explore community partnerships, intergovernmental service agreements, and educational opportunities that will build a strong talent pipeline to fill jobs.
  • Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) recommendations: Implementation of JLUS recommendations will continue to create opportunities for economic development and growth within the region and state while protecting Crane’s missions.
  • Indiana defense industry initiatives: Leaders from Crane will work with Indiana’s economic development arm to ensure a focus on development that will enhance Crane and the state’s ability to satisfy DoD’s critical warfighting needs.

Members of WRMCA will provide an update on the State of the Community at the Alliance’s February 2022 meeting. 

NSA Crane aims to strengthen and modernize infrastructure

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

High-quality infrastructure can increase productivity, streamline projects, and create a more optimal work environment for employees. For two of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane’s major tenants, modernizing infrastructure can help lead to solutions for some of the world’s most complex technological challenges.

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane (NSWC Crane) and Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) both celebrated new facilities this fall to strengthen the organizations’ infrastructure. 

CAAA opened two facilities on Sept. 2, a plating shop and a centralized receiving department. The plating shop features automated lines to chemically treat steel, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and brass surfaces. The receiving department is CAAA’s first-of-its-kind centralized facility, which will be used primarily for receiving inbound shipments of ammunition and explosives.

CAAA team members have worked to design, fund, and construct these facilities for more than a decade. This is one of the first times that CAAA has completed two projects around the same time, which made last month’s ribbon-cutting ceremony especially monumental.

Earlier this week, NSWC Crane held a groundbreaking for the Strategic Radiation Testing Modernization Facility, which will conduct testing for radiation hardness. Radiation can harm the operation of microelectronic materials used for military applications, even causing malfunctions and failures in aerospace electronics. The need for materials that can withstand radiation has grown in the past decades, especially because satellites that transmit data rely on these materials.

Several years ago, studies indicated that there was not enough capacity or capability in the strategic radiation testing equipment to continue supporting the base’s current strategic mission.

This facility will provide important capacity to support testing for multiple, concurrent, future nuclear modernization programs.

The new facilities demonstrate both NSWC Crane and CAAA’s commitment to modernizing operations. The new equipment, processes, and renewed commitment to safety will help Crane provide the highest quality product to the 21st-century force.

Radius Indiana applauds the efforts of both organizations for their commitment to modernizing their infrastructure.

New Crane Army Ammunition Activity initiative aims to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

You’ve seen Crane Army Ammunition Activity proudly share its modernization efforts as it prepares to open two new state-of-the-art facilities, and upgrade the way that it keeps the Crane Army family safe on the installation. However, these initiatives are only a part of creating an optimal work environment for its employees. 

Crane Army has also been considering another critical question: How do leaders ensure that the workforce reflects and is prepared for the modernizing landscape of talent management? 

The United States Army’s recent initiative, Project Inclusion, is helping to identify answers. The initiative aims to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the force and build cohesive teams. Through this effort, Army leaders have listened to soldiers, Army civilians and family members to identify practices that inadvertently discriminate. 

The Army is pursuing an approach that maximizes every Soldier’s and Civilian’s potential through data-driven talent management approaches and initiatives, such as Project Inclusion, which will help cultivate a culture that infuses diversity across the leadership, provides individuals with promotion opportunities and maximizes the talents of everyone at every level.

While hosted at NSA Crane, southern Indiana’s military base, Crane Army produces and provides essential munitions for American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Crane Army’s  leaders have been holding a series of listening sessions with supervisors to learn how they can improve talent management. 

Over the recent weeks, supervisors have gathered to speak about recruiting, hiring, training, and retention with the ultimate goal of refining the ways that it hires the right people into the right positions. Workforce planning requires effective communication, and the belief that these listening sessions can be a springboard for many new candidates to start a career at Crane Army.

President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget anticipates an increase of more than 50,000 full-time-equivalent employees to the federal payrolls next year. This increase is part of concerted efforts to attract young and expert workers to federal service. 

Most of this budget’s push for increasing the labor force across the government is likely to come from programs that target recent graduates and highly-skilled workers in areas like information technology (IT) and cybersecurity. Almost 30 percent of federal employees are older than 55, and 8.1 percent of employees are younger than 30, according to the budget proposal’s analytical perspectives. 

Radius recognizes the value of a workforce with diverse ages, backgrounds, and races. Bringing in new talent to our bases, especially citizens with expertise in rapidly developing fields like IT and cybersecurity, is an essential part of creating the best workforce to serve our warfighters and protect our country. 

 

Crane Army Continues to Invest in Critical Modernization Efforts

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support

 

The Army’s Organic Industrial Base is working toward a strategic modernization effort. While currently meeting the needs of its Joint Warfighters and Coalition Partners, it is simultaneously working to modernize its facilities to address aging conditions and meet future capabilities.

According to a testimony by Gen. Edward Daly to the House Armed Services Committee, across the industrial base the buildings and infrastructure that support the ammunition industrial base average 58 years old, exceeding their expected useful service life of 50 years. More than half were built prior to 1945 and must be modernized to meet the evolving capabilities required.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity, as a member of that industrial base, is also a core tenant at Naval Support Activity Crane. Established in 1977, Crane Army works to safely receive, inspect, store, ship, renovate, demilitarize, and manufacture conventional ammunition, missiles, and related components to support Army and Joint Force readiness.

As aging facilities that support the ammunition production mission become less capable, it can increase the risk to Army readiness and the safety of its personnel. Facilities with the appropriate size and configuration, utilities and technology for the capability, availability of adequate equipment necessary to perform the work required, environmental conditions suitable for personnel to safely perform the work, and the availability of skilled labor with the unique industrial competencies are all required to support the Crane Army mission.

Human handling of the materials located in these facilities should also be replaced with process automation or other technology solutions, freeing the workforce to focus on technical oversight. The Army’s goal is state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and machinery that have safety standards built in, not only improving safety for the workforce, but making production more efficient and effective while reducing risk to production.

In the last few years Crane Army has completed a new Crane Flexible Manufacturing Complex and has nearly finished new plating and ammunition receiving facilities. Total investments for these projects exceeded $50 million. In addition to typical annual restoration and modernization activities across thier facilities, an explosive railcar holding yard and new storage magazines are planned over the next 3-4 years totaling nearly $35 million in additional investments.

Part of the investment comes through Crane Army’s active participation in the Army Modernization Program, which is the Army’s core initiative to replace the largest, most important national-level logistics systems. With these improvements, Crane Army can support the warfighter while protecting the surrounding environment and communities in which its workforce lives.

Radius Indiana applauds Crane Army’s continued investment in its operations, facilities and workforce as it continues its legacy of excellence in serving our nation and providing economic vitality for our region.

Change in Command Brings Excitement for Crane’s Future

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

In July of this year, NSA Crane and NSWC Crane welcomed two new commanding officers to lead the southern Indiana installation. 

Commander James L. Smith, commanding officer of NSA Crane, is a 2002 graduate of the United States Naval Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering. Captain Thomas (Duncan) McKay, commanding officer of NSWC Crane, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida State University in 1996, and later earned a Naval Engineer’s Degree and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. Both present impressive resumes and hold a number of personal achievements and various awards.

Like the leaders before them, Smith and McKay will be balancing the responsibilities of learning from the organization’s past and executing plans for its future. While they are adjusting to the new role, both commanders are also tasked with gaining the trust and support of those around them. The leadership teams, stakeholders and communities involved with Crane will also be adapting to the new leadership styles and expectations. 

While both bring a great deal of experience to their respective roles, we are currently living in unprecedented times. Stepping into leadership during a pandemic poses a number of challenges including navigating remote work and changes in logistics and daily operations. We wish them the best as they use new leadership styles to overcome these obstacles moving forward. 

Both Smith and McKay have expressed their appreciation for the community’s support of Crane and its missions, as well as their commitment to sustain the strategic value of Crane while growing the economic prosperity of the region and state of Indiana. This includes maintaining a close relationship with the White River Military Coordination Alliance to continue building strong communication channels, and promoting development within the surrounding areas.

Last year, Crane anticipated increasing the size their workforce in the coming years. Recently, Crane released the date for the 2020 Crane Career Fair, taking place virtually from 2-6pm on Thursday, October 22. Today, Team Crane’s civilian and contractor workforce stands 5,500 strong, the largest in three decades. With over 900 employees becoming eligible for retirement in the next five years, employment opportunities are expected to become available. Our region needs to ensure there is a workforce available to meet the growth needs and replace those retiring in the coming years. 

NSA Crane Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support, Radius Indiana

Naval Support Activity Crane has responded to local and national COVID-19-related needs in unprecedented ways by joining efforts to fight the virus, boost the economy, and assist community members in need. Radius Indiana is proud of NSA Crane’s efforts to support the needs of COVID-19 in our region.

The work at NSA Crane remains imperative for supporting service members around the globe, and mission-critical activities are continuing so that the base can continue to help maintain military readiness. The following efforts are just some of the ways the base is working to maintain operations and support our region.

 

Keeping employees safe while preserving national security

NSA Crane employs thousands of Hoosiers, and due to the nature of their jobs, many employees are teleworking, and many are still required to come in to work at the installation. In order to protect these essential workers, officials at NSA Crane have taken a number of precautions. Many employees are now working staggered shifts, all individuals are required to wear face coverings, and if any employees test positive for the virus, they will be placed on a type of administrative leave that won’t negatively affect their employment. 

 

Supporting the Red Cross during a severe, statewide blood shortage

Team Crane completed a successful blood drive in March, with employees providing 232 units of blood while maintaining social distancing procedures. Crane employees who are teleworking commuted onsite just to donate blood during the drive. Public health concerns have caused many blood drives at schools and local businesses to close, making the donations from Crane employees critical to helping save patient lives across the county. 

 

Continuing to provide STEM programming to local students

The NSWC Crane Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Program has responded to community needs by putting their programming in a virtual format to continue to provide educational opportunities for students. The program usually provides hands-on learning opportunities through in-person field trips and events, but adapted the program so students can learn problem-solving skills remotely, without access to the lab. 

 

Offering patent licenses to encourage new technologies

Officials at NSWC Crane are offering the laboratory’s patent portfolio of technologies at a reduced cost to lessen the severity of the new coronavirus outbreak and shorten economic recovery. The Technology Transfer Office at NSWC Crane is authorized to negotiate royalty-free patent license agreements with businesses that would use any of its 300+ patented technologies. The lab’s leaders hope that businesses and entrepreneurs will use these technologies to protect American lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and support new jobs and economic growth. 

 

Building capacity at facilities in need

Navy Lt. Miranda L. Bassett, a construction manager for the NSA Crane Public Works Department, deployed to Chicago to help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers convert spaces into alternate care facilities to provide additional capacity for possible COVID-19 surges, alleviating the strain on area hospitals. Bassett is among a select group of engineers, health care workers and emergency responders going into hot zones to help. 

 

Producing critical materials to support supply chains

Several of the Army’s depots, arsenals and ammunition plants, including Crane Army Ammunition Activity, are assisting in the response to COVID-19. Crane Army is repurposing raw materials to produce and distribute hand sanitizer. Within days, they designed and assembled a sanitizer manufacturing line drawing on their expertise in munitions production. The line has proven successful and is ready for full-rate production, allowing Crane Army to help protect workers while also supporting an overburdened supply system to get a critical product into the hands of the professionals that need it.