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Reachback Cell Creates Explosives Safety Repository

The Multi-National Corps-Iraq requested that the Army Defense Ammunition Center (DAC) at McAlester, Oklahoma, assess theater ammunition supply points, ammunition holding areas, and basic load ammunition holding areas and help write applicable documentation for selecting sites for and licensing of ammunition and explosives (class V) storage locations. In response, DAC deployed two quality assurance specialists-ammunition surveillance (QASASs) to the Iraq area of operations in September 2006 and created a reachback cell at DAC headquarters to support the mission.

The deployed QASASs completed the assessments of the predetermined storage areas, and the reachback cell compiled, reviewed, verified, and validated the documentation they generated. The reachback cell’s goal was to create a repository of safety information on explosives for each location. The information is filed both electronically and in hard copy and is available as “read only” to commanders, QASASs, explosives safety personnel, and other interested parties through Army Knowledge Online. The information will be kept current so that it can serve as an effective tool for those responsible for explosives safety.

The reachback cell also created site packages designed to meet mission requirements based on the amount of available real estate and storage space. The various storage methods were designed, with alternatives, to fit into most footprints the users could encounter. The types of storage options available vary from designs with small footprints that provide limited protection from incoming mortar attacks to designs for facilities requiring large footprints, such as theater ammunition supply points. Every design was created to provide explosives safety for personnel and asset protection. The designs are also practical enough to meet tactical requirements.

As a result of the reachback cell, the local QASASs and safety specialists have the necessary explosives safety assistance and training to support their mission requirements. They also will have a continuous flow of current, accurate information available online.

Keith A. Brailsford is a quality assurance specialist-ammunition surveillance at the Army Defense Ammunition Center at McAlester, Oklahoma. He has a B.S. degree in criminal justice from Lamar University.