Progress Made and Improvements Needed in Developing a Containerized Ammunition System (Unclassified Digest of a Classified Report)

LCD-78-222A: Published: Aug 3, 1978. Publicly Released: Aug 3, 1978.

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Military plans for transporting ammunition in the event of a war in Europe include augmenting the existing transportation system with a containerized ammunition distribution system. Containerized shipping involves less handling than breakbulk shipping, but it requires specially designed support equipment; container storage requires large areas of concrete or asphalt-paved surfaces.

The Department of Defense is making plans to extend containerization capability to all ammunition plants but has not defined the quantity of ammunition the system should be capable of moving. The Army and Navy port operators have only recently coordinated planning for upgrading port facilities, and more coordination is needed to assure that the proper type capacity in the right location is available when needed. Major unresolved problems affecting the ability of a containerized system to meet mobilization needs are: Will adequate overseas port facilities be available? Is there sufficient inland transportation? Can containerized ammunition be handled in-theater? What is the cost of a containerized system and is it justified? What are the problems in shipping ammunition from storage sites? There is a need to expose a wider variety of ammunition shippers and types of ammunition to the system during peacetime and to experiment with commercial containers. Recent developments have cast doubt on the need for a containerized system and related port improvement projects of the extent now under consideration. For example, current Army plans call for sorting larger quantities of ammunition in Europe which should reduce sealift requirements.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should take the necessary action to: define the capacity and extent of the containerized system and develop a plan for funding construction and equipment acquisition to this capacity, assure coordination between the Army and Navy of planning for upgrading ammunition ports to increase or maintain capacity, and revise present plans and reevaluate investment decisions to achieve a balance between programs for prepositioning ammunition and acquiring transportation assets.

    Agency Affected:

 

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