Casey Pushes Pentagon to End Contract Delays That Could Cause 50 Layoffs at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant

Army Has Spent $50M to Modernize Scranton AAP But Is On Verge of Laying Off of Workforce Due to Bureaucratic Delays

Delays in Contracting for and Procuring of Mortar Metal Are Causing Threat of Layoffs

Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released a letter to Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics & Technology, urging the Defense Department to end contract delays that could cause 50 layoffs at the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant (AAP).

In his letter, Casey said that layoffs shouldn’t occur because of bureaucratic delays and that, after investing $50 million to upgrade the Scranton AAP facility, the Pentagon has an interest in seeing its work continue seamlessly.

“Scranton’s Army Ammunition Plant is truly a national asset. Allowing bureaucratic delays to cause 50 highly skilled workers to be laid off would be a mistake,” Casey said. “Northeastern Pennsylvania is still struggling to recover in this difficult economy, and the last thing our area needs is layoffs in the Defense industry that the Pentagon can easily avoid.”

Currently the Defense Department has delayed the procurement and contracting of 120mm mortar metal, causing Scranton AAP to issue layoff notices to 50 highly skilled workers. Scranton AAP has capacity to produce all identified requirements for each year in the current Program Objective Memorandum (POM) with additional surge capabilities remaining beyond the requirements and is the only facility capable of producing the full range of artillery and mortar metal parts at high or low volume.  Scranton AAP has significant and unique forging capabilities not found anywhere else in the world.  The skilled production and maintenance team’s specialized knowledge and skills have produced over 25 million rounds of artillery and mortar ammunition without a single critical defect escaping the facility.  Scranton AAP is truly a national asset.  

The full text of Casey’s letter to the Defense Department is below:

 

The Honorable Heidi Shyu

Assistant Secretary of the Army

Acquisition, Logistics & Technology

103 Army Pentagon

Washington, DC 20310-0103

Dear Ms. Shyu:

I write to discuss two critical matters of paramount importance to the viability of the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant (AAP).  Scranton AAP is the preeminent manufacturer of artillery and mortar metal parts and has been the principal source of supply for artillery and mortar requirements for the U.S. Armed Services for the past 20 years.  The facility has capacity to produce all identified requirements for each year in the current Program Objective Memorandum (POM) with additional surge capabilities remaining beyond the requirements and is the only facility capable of producing the full range of artillery and mortar metal parts at high or low volume.  Scranton AAP has significant and unique forging capabilities not found anywhere else in the world.  The skilled production and maintenance team’s specialized knowledge and skills have produced over 25 million rounds of artillery and mortar ammunition without a single critical defect escaping the facility.  Scranton AAP is truly a national asset.  

I am concerned about delays in the procurement and contracting of 120mm mortar metal part.  As you may be aware, the Army’s current contract completion in September has necessitated the operator of the Scranton AAP to issue a WARN Act notice and lay off 50 highly skilled production workers.  Regrettably, the scheduled follow-on solicitation (Solicitation Numbers: W15QKN-12-R-A008 and W15QKN-12-R-B008) has been delayed creating uncertainty and the ability to plan and maintain the skilled workforce.  While I understand you and your team have a significant workload, it is my desire to see the procurement process work in a manner that allows the timely evaluation and execution of follow-on contracts.  When the procurement process is repeatedly delayed or derailed, it compromised the military’s readiness and the lives of the individuals work on those production lines.

I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize your efforts to resolve the Facilities Operating Contract for the Scranton AAP.  It is my understanding that the current Low Price, Technically Acceptable procurement process, in conjunction with significantly declining requirements, has severely impacted the competitiveness of Scranton AAP due to the overhead cost required to maintain the significant capacity and capability of the facility.  I am encouraged to hear that the Joint Munitions Command and PEO-Ammo Team is working to provide long-term stability to this instrumental and unique source of large caliber ammunition supply to our forces and the skilled team of manufacturing workers dedicated to supplying these critical ammunition components.  As these negotiations continue, I would appreciate my office being updated of the progress made and the resolution reached to sustain this national asset.

Thank you for your service and your attention to these matters.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senate

Press Contact

April Mellody 202-228-6367