Report | Aug. 22, 2013

Assessment of the DSE 40mm Grenades

DODIG-2013-122

Objective

Our assessment focused on the reliability and quality control procedures for 40mm grenades procured by DoD from DSE, Inc. Specifically, we assessed the quality management systems employed by DSE Systems, LLC., a division of DSE, Inc., for manufacturing the M550 fuze.

Findings

Our assessment of DSE Systems to the ISO 9001:2008 “Quality Management Systems - Requirements” identified 20 individual findings.

DSE Systems had the elements of an ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System. However, we identified issues with DSE Systems’ approach to the following quality assurance processes: control of nonconforming products, corrective action and preventive action, verification of purchased products, and production process controls. Upon addressing the assessment findings and meeting remaining contractual requirements imposed in starting a new facility production line, DSE Systems should continue to be successful. Project Manager, Maneuver Ammunition Systems’ proper emphasis on strict adherence of contractual safety requirements coupled with DSE Systems pursuit of process improvement should ensure the continued success of the M550 fuze.

For the M550 fuze, we evaluated the reliability and found that the contract specifications and imposed testing ensures its safe operation. DSE Systems manufacturing processes include several inspection and validation points. These inspection and validation points reduce the risk of nonconforming material or product being delivered to the customer.

Recommendations

We recommend that:

1. Project Manager, Maneuver Ammunition Systems ensure rigorous compliance to ISO 9001 standards at DSE Systems and future 40mm grenade contractors and ensure that the findings identified within this report and past quality assurance audits are mitigated and resolved.

2. Project Manager, Maneuver Ammunition Systems apply the necessary resources, such as technical and quality assurance expertise, to ensure that DSE Systems and future 40mm grenade contractors adhere to the contractually required Quality Management Systems processes and implement preventive action process measures that promote product reliability.

3. Defense Contract Management Agency increase its onsite performance of inspections and verifications until all the corrective actions have been implemented.

Management Comments

Project Manager, Maneuver Ammunition Systems agreed with the recommendations and findings within the report. Additionally, Project Manager, Maneuver Ammunition Systems noted on May 2013, DSE, Inc., announced the closure of its facilities and on July 3, 2013, announced the sale of its assets to their competitor, AMTEC Corp, Janesville, Wisconsin. Because of these events, Project Manager, Maneuver Ammunition Systems and the Army Contracting Command are working on the novation of the DSE contract.

DoD IG Response

The DoD IG acknowledges the closure of DSE, Inc., and the comments from the Program Manager, Maneuver Ammunition Systems’ are responsive. No further response is required.