The Army Installation Management Agency (IMA)
was established on 1 October 2002 to provide equitable, effective,
and efficient management of Army installations worldwide
in support of mission readiness and execution. IMA operates
seven regional offices. Four are in the continental United
States (CONUS)—the Northeast Region Office at Fort
Monroe, Virginia; the Southeast Region Office at Fort McPherson,
the Northwest Region Office at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois;
and the Southwest Region Office at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
The Pacific Region Office is located at Fort Shafter, Hawaii,
the Europe Region Office at Heidelberg, Germany, and the
Korean Region Office at Yongsan, South Korea.
When the staff of the Northwest Region (NWR) analyzed garrison operations, we
found that we had no way of knowing when commercial, nonstandard major items
of equipment (class VII) at region installations became excess. As a result,
our ability to redistribute excess equipment within our region was limited. As
most supply managers know, excess items are a cost-effective source of supply
that saves already limited budget dollars.
Accounting for Noncentrally Managed Items
The property books of IMA garrisons in CONUS predominately contain noncentrally
managed commercial equipment. Managers of centrally managed items concentrate
on controlling the authorization and accountability of items that support the
warfighter, which limits the number of centrally managed items available to nondeployable
table of distribution and allowances (TDA) activities, such as garrisons. IMA
garrisons have filled this void through commercial procurement.
Only a small percentage of the commercial equipment that is used widely by nondeployable
TDA activities is centrally managed. In fact, an analysis of data on all NWR
garrison property book items showed that 87 percent were nonstandard and therefore
were not centrally managed.
A procured commercial item is exempt from type classification and assignment
of a line item number, even when it is a substitute for a centrally managed item
valued at less than $100,000. Commercial equipment valued at more than $100,000
must go through a type classification or exemption review before it is procured.
The IMA garrison property book officer (PBO) uses the automated Defense Property
Accountability System (DPAS) to maintain formal accountability records. DPAS
provides information on all centrally managed reportable items to the Logistics
Integrated Database (LIDB), which is the Army’s asset visibility tool.
However, most nonstandard commercial items are not reported to the LIDB; therefore,
asset visibility of commercial items is limited.
Typically, an excess commercial item is turned in to the servicing supply support
activity (SSA). Because the item is not centrally managed, the SSA sends the
item to the nearest Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO), regardless
of its condition code. Federal agencies and other qualified buyers may purchase
the item from DRMO.
Finding a Fix
The NWR Office, as a steward of Army property, decided to look for a way to broaden
the visibility of these nonstandard commercial items so they would be available
for extended use by the services before they were reported as excess to the DRMO.
First, we identified criteria for reporting excess items that would attract customers
and increase the use of this source of supply. The criteria would have to be
flexible, and the items would have to offer substantial value and represent cost
savings for our customers.
To limit the reporting of less-than-desirable items, we established criteria
for reporting usable commercial items with an original acquisition value over
$5,000 that were in condition codes A (serviceable-usable), B (serviceable
with qualifications), and F (economically reparable). Dollar values for the
were set at a level that would ensure the gaining garrison a positive return
on its investment, considering the costs of packaging and transportation. We
established a screening period of 21 days from the reporting date, during which
the items would be available for redistribution before turn-in to the SSA.
To categorize commercial equipment properly, we disallowed reporting of all
Army items that are listed in chapter 2 of Supply Bulletin 700–20, Army
Adopted/Other Items Selected for Authorization/List of Reportable Items. Those
items have a separate basis of issue and have been separately type-classified.
Next, we identified a program development goal—maximum property reutilization—and
objectives to reach it. The first objective was to automate the reporting,
request, and redistribution processes. The second objective was to maximize
the use of
existing automation, and the third was to minimize the impact of the program
on the garrison workload.
We reviewed several scenarios to determine the merit and feasibility of our plan.
We also reviewed a number of automation asset management tools and selected two:
DPAS and the Army Electronic Product Support (AEPS) system and Web site. TDF
Corporation, the AEPS software developer, provided a cost-effective scenario
for developing the necessary functional processes.
|An IMA Northwest Region
logistician inspects an excess high-mast lift truck
at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. Timely inspection
and condition coding of excess equipment are important
to finding it a new home.
Developing the Process
Ensuring data availability and developing the DPAS process
were critical to program success. Our first challenge was
to find an easy way for our PBOs to report excess items before
they are processed for turn-in. We discovered that DPAS Version
16.3, released in July 2003, allows users to initiate information
technology (IT) equipment turn-in transactions directly to
the serving DRMO and notify the DRMO of upcoming turn-in
actions using an interface with the Defense Logistics Agency’s
Defense Automated Information System (DAISY).
However, the Army does not allow the turn-in of non-IT assets directly from a
property book to the DRMO. To be able to take full advantage of the available
DPAS processes, we obtained approval from the Department of the Army Deputy Chief
of Staff, G–4, to use the DPAS interface and allow the direct turn-in of
our commercial excess equipment. The 25 February 2004 update to AR 710–2,
Supply Policy Below the National Level, authorizes IMA garrisons to submit turn-in
transactions to transfer commercial nonstandard items directly from their property
books to their DRMOs.
We engaged the installation command stakeholders in our region—the Joint
Munitions Command (JMC) and the Chemical Materials Agency (CMA)—in the
development of the AEPS excess program processes. After reviewing the program
and the mutual benefits to be gained, both JMC and CMA elected to bring their
Government-owned activities on line in the excess program, even those outside
of the NWR. Thus, the program became a multi-command system.
Our final process in the development cycle was a user system acceptance test
of the AEPS. Using standard methodology, we developed a test plan and procedures
to trace the reporting, redistribution, and disposition processes. Because AEPS
is Web-based, we determined that it was not necessary to gather all participants
in one conventional test environment. Instead, we conducted a virtual test, with
participants accessing the AEPS developmental server remotely as they would in
the user environment. Six PBOs from three commands and four command personnel
with authority to approve lateral transfer of personal property participated
in the test. The test director orchestrated the actions of each test participant.
TDF Corporation made software programming fixes as the test progressed. A downside
to remote testing was a lack of control over the test environment. Communications
were sporadic or interrupted at times, and test participants were not always
immediately available. However, we persevered and completed the system acceptance
test successfully in 2 weeks.
Reporting Excess Items
Here’s how the new NWR reporting and redistribution process works. The
reporting PBO enters information on excess items into the DAISY/DPAS prenotification
excess database. Every Friday, the AEPS application pulls the data, compiles
them by unit identification code (UIC) with associated points of contact (POCs),
and emails the data to all program participants. If a program participant finds
an item that meets his mission requirements, he accesses the AEPS excess program
to submit a request for redistribution, or a “hold.” A hold action
generates an email notification to the approving command POC requesting that
he access the program to approve or disapprove the redistribution request.
When a decision is made, an e-mail is sent to the reporting and requesting PBOs
to notify them of the disposition of the redistribution (hold) request. If the
request is approved, the e-mail notification provides an electronic Department
of the Army Form 3161, Request for Issue or Turn-In, with the UIC, item description,
and electronic command approval signatures. If no claim for an item is received
during the 21-day screening period, a disposition email is sent to the reporting
PBO with instructions to process the item to the SSA for disposal.
AEPS also has a “want list” capability that allows unit POCs to submit,
by Federal stock class and nomenclature, requests for AEPS to search the database.
When a reported item’s Federal stock class or nomenclature matches that
of a requested item, the requester is notified by e-mail of the item’s
availability. AEPS has a metrics reporting function that commands can use to
monitor the effectiveness and return on investment of the excess program. This
feature is linked directly
to the e-mail engine and reports generator, so data can be updated automatically.
Because the AEPS system is Web-based, no additional software or hardware was
required to field the excess program. We established an implementation schedule
and determined associated actions. Fielding consisted of publishing command policy
and procedures, identifying all program participants, establishing user restrictions
on AEPS, providing a training compact disk (CD), and scheduling video teleconferences
(VTCs) with installation PBOs and command POCs. We provided them with NWR program
guidance on 3 October 2003. JMC and CMA subsequently endorsed this guidance,
and the training CD was shipped to all program participants. By VTC, each command
participated in reviewing program responsibilities and answering operational
and system fielding questions.
The PBOs began submitting information on excess items to the DPAS prenotification
excess database during the first week in November, and the first generation of
excess listings and subsequent automatic emailing to all program participants
occurred the following week.
To date, our established objectives have been met. We have gained visibility
of excess items on the garrison property book, maximized use of current automation,
and minimized the workload impact on garrison personnel. Since implementation
of this program, we have redistributed excess items valued at more than $4 million.
We expect this figure to rise to $10 million by the end of this fiscal year as
the value of redistributed items continues to be high. This represents direct
cost avoidance for program participants and extends the usefulness of items.
To provide good stewardship of Army and IMA resources, we are planning to field
our excess system to the remaining three IMA CONUS regions. Non-IMA installations
and tenant activities will be able to participate in the programs at the discretion
of their command and garrison hosts.
As the Army moves toward implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning under
the Global Combat Support System, resources for current systems are limited,
and we will be challenged to provide interim solutions to maintain the Army’s
logistics edge. ALOG
Clinton W. Mecham is a logistics management specialist in the Installation Management
Agency (IMA) Northwest Region at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. He is a member
of the IMA Logistics System Architecture Working Group, which is chartered to
analyze, review, and develop logistics systems capabilities at the installation