News | Nov. 23, 2021

DASD(IndPol) Jump Starts West Virginia Aluminum Production Facility

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy (DASD(IndPol)), Mr. Jesse Salazar, joined Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Constellium 144-inch aluminum cold rolling mill in Ravenswood, West Virginia on November 8, 2021. Constellium’s CEO, Mr. Jean-Marc Germain; Mr. Buddy Stemple, CEO of Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood LLC; and Mr. Ben Spurlock, Regional Coordinator for Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) were also at the historic event.

In October 2019, the Department of Defense’s Office of Industrial Policy, through its Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) Program, awarded nearly $9.5 million to Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood LLC to increase throughput, quality, and performance of cold rolled aluminum. The ribbon cutting ceremony marked the completion of the first phase of the project involving a complete teardown of the 1950s era mill to upgrade its mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and process control systems.

Cold rolling, which compresses and elongates the plate, improves plate flatness and surface characteristics, and adds additional strength to the finished plate. In 2018 IBAS Director, Ms. Adele Ratcliff, while participating in a DoD-led Interagency Task Force, identified cold rolled aluminum as “essential for armoring U.S. ground combat vehicles, constructing Navy ships, and building military aircraft.”

When speaking on meeting warfighter requirements now and in the future, DASD Salazar stated, “I am here to say we have your back and will do whatever possible.” He assured the crowd that agencies across the U.S. government are focused on strengthening supply chains and IBAS is one of the programs within the Department of Defense to lead the line of effort for strategic and critical materials. DASD Salazar held up Constellium as an exemplar of modern American manufacturing and commended the company’s efforts on workforce development, especially through joint efforts such as their involvement with Project MFG. Project MFG is a catalyst that helps elevate the next generation of highly skilled trade professionals by changing mindsets, fostering community preparedness and challenging how the critical skills needed to succeed in modern advanced manufacturing are taught.

Mr. Buddy Stemple, CEO of Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, commented “this achievement was made possible by our partnership with the IBAS program and the Department of Defense. It will enable us to produce higher performance and higher quality plate in the volumes needed by the DoD over the next decade.” DASD Salazar agreed stating, “the restart of the Ravenswood mill adds a new dimension to the supply chain for America’s defense industry, and I am proud of the Ravenswood team for their commitment to our national and economic security.”

In a congratulatory memo sent from Senator Joe Manchin to the Constellium SE team, Sen. Manchin stated “Modernizing and upgrading this mill will not only result in significant increases in output to meet the growing requirements for cold rolled aluminum, but will ensure that our Nation’s heroes have the most advanced aluminum in their vehicles, ships, aircraft, and equipment.”

At the conclusion of the event Senator Capito expressed pride in West Virginia and Constellium’s contribution to the protection of our troops and the beauty of the ribbon cutting occurring prior to Veterans Day. Her comments were particularly poignant as Constellium’s CEO Jean-Marc Germain shared that his father met his first American as a young man in the fields of Normandy during World War II. He stated, like then “this is a situation where we have the right equipment and the right people.”

For more information on this, and other IBAS projects, please email the IBAS team at osd.pentagon.ousd-a-s.mbx.ibas@mail.mil