Implementing the CNO Executive Board’s (CEB) decision memorandum

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LCdr. Kelly and I drafted the first Navy Insensitive Munition Policy order directed by the CEB and staffed it through the Warfare Sponsor offices in the Pentagon and the System Commands. After valuable contributions from RAdm. Meyer and others, Adm. Watkins signed OPNAV Instruction 8010.13 “U.S. Navy Policy on Insensitive Munitions”54 on 18 May 1984.

The term “munitions” as used in the OPNAV instruction included all devices containing explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics. The instruction stated, among other things, that:

“…. The energetic materials in these munitions produce the required propulsive power, fuzing, and warhead terminal effects necessary to meet operational requirements. The reactive nature of these materials makes them effective, but also increases their susceptibility to unplanned stimuli. Our munitions, therefore, present a major threat to the survivability of our own ships and aircraft as a result of their sensitivity.”

The instruction defined the term “Insensitive Munitions” and issued the following policy:

“All U.S. Navy munitions will be designed to minimize the effects of unplanned stimuli. They will incorporate insensitive energetic materials which meet or improve upon published insensitivity standards. The Navy goal for complete transition to insensitive munitions is 1995. Wherever feasible, this goal will be achieved earlier. All programmatic milestone reviews for munitions will specifically address the sensitivity issue including cost, impact on operational capability and alternatives. Operational capability must be maintained, but every effort must be made to meet operational requirements with the least sensitive material available.”

The instruction directed the establishment of an Insensitive Munitions Council in OPNAV and an Insensitive Munitions Coordinating Group in NAVSEA. NAVSEA was designated as the Lead Systems Command for explosives and insensitive munitions technology and tasked to define the technical requirements for Insensitive Munitions. NAVSEA established the Insensitive Munitions Office under CAPT. Bill Cadow. I became the Assistant for Explosives and Insensitive Munitions Technology, SEA-06IR.

In about June 1984, Dr. Richard E. Bowen of the NSWC, White Oak Laboratory transferred to NAVSEA to help manage the new Insensitive Munitions Advanced Development, IMAD, program established by CNO direction. Dr. Bowen had been on detail to OP-354 since the fall of 1983 and had been involved in every aspect of the insensitive munitions program development and the CEB briefing preparation.

At about this same time, CAPT. Cadow supervised the formation of the Insensitive Munitions office in NAVSEA and hired Mr. Clarence (Skip) Wenzel to manage the “programmatics” for the Insensitive Munitions program. In May 1984 LCdr. John Kelly was moved to the Tomahawk desk in OP-354 and Cdr. Lou Athow took over the Insensitive Munitions responsibilities in that office. Some time later both Mr. Wenzel and Cdr. Athow received a Navy Commendation for their roles in developing the Navy Insensitive Munitions Program. I don’t know whether LCdr. Kelly was ever rewarded for his many contributions. I understand, however, that he eventually made the rank of Rear Admiral.

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54OPNAVINST 8010.13, OP-354, dated 18 May 1984; Subject: U.S. Navy Policy on Insensitive Munitions.