Ordnance is a military term for all types of ammunition and weapons, such as missiles, guns, and chemical munitions. Ammunition and weapons are hazardous materials that require special handling to ensure their reliability and safety. Ordnance officers make decisions regarding the purchase, handling, storage, maintenance, use, and disposal of ordnance. They also supervise and train ordnance personnel assigned to their unit.
What They Do
Ordnance officers in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
- Manage and direct the inspection, repair, and maintenance of weapon systems
- Direct the handling, transportation, storage, and disposal of all types of ammunition, missiles, and explosives
- Detect, identify, and report nuclear, biological, and chemical contamination
- Supervise the loading and unloading of weapons and ammunition on aircraft, ships, and other transport systems
- Instruct personnel in explosive ordnance disposal methods and proper procedures for handling all types of ordnance
- Participate in the research, development, test, evaluation, and acquisition of ground and/or air weapons systems
- Employ digital switching theory, logic, computer fundamentals, and infrared fundamentals applicable to missile systems
and associated equipment
Helpful fields of study include chemistry, physics and other physical sciences. Helpful attributes include:
- Ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- Attention to detail
- Good organizational and management skills
Job training consists of classroom instruction and practical exercises. Training length varies depending on the specialty. Course content typically includes:
- Ordnance transportation, handling and storage
- Maintenance and repair of weapons systems and ordnance
- Arming/disarming techniques
- Ordnance disposal
- Chemical and nuclear detection and defense
Ordnance officers usually work on bases or ships. Due to the need to keep forces supplied with weapons and munitions, ordnance officers may spend time outdoors in all types of weather.
There are no direct civilian counterparts for most of the ordnance officer specialties. However, their experience in handling hazardous materials and proven ability to manage personnel in tense situations translate to strong leadership and managerial skills. Additionally, the expertise of some ordnance officers is similar to the knowledge used by bomb disposal experts and other emergency management personnel.