PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- During a visit here yesterday the Acting Secretary of the United States Army told employees and leaders that he appreciated the cutting-edge work done at the Arsenal just before a new Secretary of the Army was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Hon. Patrick J. Murphy visited Picatinny Arsenal for most of the day to familiarize himself with the installation, its organizations and its missions within the military, meet the arsenal leaders, tour facilities and attend weapon system demonstrations.

Eric Fanning, who had been nominated by President Obama to be Army Secretary in September, was confirmed in a unanimous vote later in the day. Fanning had served as Acting Secretary of the Army but stepped down while he awaited confirmation.

Murphy, who had previously been confirmed as Under Secretary of the Army, was appointed Acting Secretary of the Army by President Obama on Jan. 7.

"It's great to be here at Picatinny," Murphy said. "I really appreciate what you do." 

"We do not want our Soldiers - our troops - to have a fair fight. We want them to have the technical and tactical advantage over the enemy, and you help provide that," Murphy said to Picatinny personnel at the Lindner Conference Center, where he received a display tour of the arsenal's various programs and projects. 

"I am proud of the fact that this is the third largest research center in New Jersey. And Jersey, as you know, is known for its research in the pharmaceutical industry," said Murphy. "What you do is right cutting-edge."

During his visit, Murphy met with Picatinny employees and senior leaders, including Brig. Gen. Patrick W. Burden, Deputy Program Executive Officer Ammunition and Senior Commander of Picatinny; James Shields, Program Executive Officer for Ammunition, and John Hedderich, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center Director. 

"We were honored to have the Honorable Patrick Murphy visit Team Picatinny," said Burden. "Picatinny Arsenal is a small installation focused primarily on research and development, but our contributions to Army readiness and the joint warfighter are huge. The technologies Team Picatinny deliver touches every warfighter and has a positive global impact on missions around the world. 

"When we showcase our innovation and technical experts to leaders like the Honorable Murphy - we demonstrate the uniqueness of the Arsenal and the important role it plays in national defense."

Murphy toured a sampling of the arsenal's facilities that research technology for troops, such as the Additive Manufacturing Facility, Davidson Warhead Facility, Manufacturing Technology Center, and Small Caliber Prototyping Facility. 

He also attended presentations on Picatinny programs, like its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) outreach efforts to area schools and its outreach to New Jersey and New York City first responders to mutually enhance capabilities.

"I'm a third generation Veteran, from a law enforcement family, two combat deployments, used to teach at West Point, so I appreciate the partnership you have with them," Murphy said. 

While at Picatinny, Murphy was able to visit a STEM outreach event happening with nine students from Newark Central High School who were visiting Picatinny to learn about 3-D printing. More than 70,000 pre-kindergarten to high school age students from more than 100 Northern New Jersey schools have participated in Picatinny STEM events.

"We want (our Soldiers) to have the technical and tactical advantage - better weapons, better artillery, better everything. Here at Picatinny, that's what they do," said Murphy to the students. "That's why we really value the STEM program."

Murphy also witnessed product demonstrations, including a live warhead firing and a non-lethal counter drone engagement. He also participated in a hands-on demonstration, where he fired the U.S. Army's 5.56 millimeter service round, the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, or EPR, and saw its effects on various targets.

The lead-free, environmentally friendly EPR was fielded in 2010. The new bullet design features a copper jacket and exposed hardened steel penetrator. These designs also contributed to a number of performance enhancements over the original 5.56 mm, to include better hard-target penetration, more consistent performance against soft targets and significantly increased distances of these effects.

"For infantry officers, for armor, for joint services -- Air Force, Navy Marine Corps, -- (Picatinny engineers are) doing what's necessary to find a way to be more lethal. To find a way to make sure that we protect our warfighters and keep our families safe here at home," said Murphy.

"We have asked so much of our Soldiers the last 15 years. We are in the longest wars in American history in Iraq and Afghanistan and we have less than one percent of America to serve. It's become a family business in a sense," Murphy said.

Murphy was accompanied by Hon. Richard Eastman, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army. Also here was the Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, Commanding General of the Joint Munitions & Lethality Life Cycle Management Command and Joint Munitions Command.

Picatinny was designated the Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, providing products and services to all branches of the U.S. military. It is the third largest employer in Northwestern New Jersey, employing more than 6,000 employees, and provides 90 percent of the Army's lethality.

Murphy's day-long visit marks the first time that Murphy has been to Picatinny.

The Secretary of the Army has statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: to include 1.4 million Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communication, and financial management.

Murphy was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 32nd Under Secretary of the Army, where he leads the management and operation of the Army, which would rank as a Fortune 10 company if it was a public company, according to his biography on the Army homepage.

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