|Property Management for Company Commanders
|by Captain Jaren P. Powell
You have been a company commander and your
unitís primary hand receipt holder for 14 months. The unit
supply sergeant recently moved to a new assignment, and the transition of the incoming supply sergeant was smooth and simple. So you thought! In conducting a 10-percent cyclic inventory, you discover that a Single-Channel
Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) is
missing. And thatís a sensitive item!
The above scenario could have been avoided by using the right
property management “tactics.” Army Regulation
(AR) 710–2, Supply Policy Below the National Level, explains
the different types of inventories and mandates the timeframes
during which these inventories should be conducted and by whom.
Good habits in property accountability do not start during
an inventory, and certainly not during a company change-of-command
are ready for an upcoming sensitive items inventory.
Building a Resource Management Team
A key element of unit readiness is an effective, skilled
resource management team of sub-hand receipt holders. This
team can ensure that your unit’s end items and all
of their associated components are fully operational. Team
building starts with good, solid communication of what you,
the primary hand receipt holder, expect from the team members.
Most important, establishing an effective property management
system will help set the conditions for excellence in accountability
by allowing your sub-hand receipt
holders to develop programs that will meet the objective
of the system you have put in place. These programs will
help inspire them to take a personal interest in ensuring
that equipment will be available and operational when needed.
Sub-hand receipt holder counseling should include proper
management of critical items. Discussion also should include
the five levels of property responsibility found in AR 735–5,
Policies and Procedures for Property Accountability, the
level of responsibility for which they are charged, and how
each level affects you as the primary hand receipt holder.
The five levels are—
Command. A commander is responsible for all property within
Supervisory. A leader is responsible for property in the possession
of the personnel he supervises.
Direct. The accountable officer is responsible for property
not issued on hand receipt, and the primary hand receipt holder
is responsible for property accepted on hand receipt from the
Custodial. The supply sergeant, supply custodian, supply clerk,
or warehouse person is responsible for property in storage
awaiting issue or turn-in.
Personal. Each person is responsible for exercising reasonable
and prudent actions to properly use, care for, safeguard, and
dispose of all Government property issued for, acquired for,
or converted to his exclusive use, with or without receipt.
Unit Supply Standing Operating Procedure
A unit supply standing operating procedure (SOP) should
be built around the provisions of AR 190–11, Physical Security of
Arms, Ammunition and Explosives; AR 710–2; AR 735–5;
Department of the Army (DA) Pamphlet 710–2–1, Using
Unit Supply System (Manual Procedures); command policy letters;
and local SOPs. AR 710–2 governs the processes that should
be used in daily supply activities, and DA Pamphlet 710–2–1
tells you how to conduct these processes by providing examples
of applicable forms.
Every SOP is different, but some points to consider when developing
the inventory annex of your SOP are as follows—
Ten-percent item inventories
must be conducted by you, the primary hand receipt holder;
only extreme cases
Your 10-percent item inventory should culminate in reconciliation
with the supply sergeant of all shortages found and a review
of the current status of last month’s inventory. This
will help you stay abreast of your unit’s readiness
status. All items not found will be listed on a shortage
initialed by you or your property book officer (PBO). A
Department of Defense Form 362, Statement of Charges/Cash
is a recommended method of obtaining relief from responsibility
for items listed on the shortage annex.
A memorandum for record listing
line item numbers (LINs) for the upcoming month’s inventory
should be included in the company training meeting agenda
as a handout
during the training meetings.
A materiel allowance list (MAL)
should be developed that contains information on all sensitive
including the names of
personnel assigned individual weapons and the serial numbers
of the weapons and their components. It also may be helpful
to develop a field MAL with an additional “signed out” column
for quick reference in a field environment. Thousands of
troops depend on the availability of sensitive items. Failure
properly for these assets can have a huge impact on mission
Consider adding information to your SOP on where Soldiers
should stow their weapons when they return to garrison after
a field training exercise.
Management of critical items should also
be detailed in your SOP. An example of a critical item is
the fuel system supply
point (FSSP), which is used to establish a refueling station
for ground vehicles. The FSSP is a critical asset that is not
issued as a complete system. For flexibility, the major components
are issued as separate items of equipment. An FSSP can have
an enormous impact on mission accomplisment, so it is important
to inventory this item more often than is dictated by AR 710–2
or other time-driven inventories, such as the PBO-directed
10-percent cyclic survey or sensitive item inventory.
Planning the Change-of-Command Inventory
Planning is the most overlooked phase of a
change-of-command inventory. Its purpose is to familiarize
the incoming commander with the importance and scope of the
upcoming inventory and establish a realistic and acceptable
inventory schedule. Planning also provides an opportunity for
you to gather essential supplies and references for the inventory.
Diligence and hard work during this phase will pay off during
the actual inventory.
Planning should begin as soon as you know that you will be
assuming command and the concurrent responsibility of primary
hand receipt holder. The first task is to schedule an office
call with the battalion commander so that he can offer direction
and advice. Ask the unit supply sergeant to accompany you.
There is no such thing as “officer business” when
it comes to property accountability. All military and civilian
personnel are stewards of Government property. Witnesses at
any level to bad property management can bring attention to
Inland Petroleum Distribution System
site, Soldiers inventory components of an
800-gallon-per-minute mainline pump.
Also, take the unit supply sergeant with
you when you make your initial visit to the PBO, and require
that he be on hand throughout the inventory. The PBO can
provide you a copy of the unit’s hand receipt, due-in
listing, and nonexpendable item shortage annexes. Your
copy of the hand receipt should reflect all transactions
affecting the primary hand receipt for the current month
and transactions not affecting on-hand balances. The PBO
should be able to provide guidance on current lateral transfer
directives; local policies, including those set by major
Army commands; the status of end items that are due in,
including all components; the availability of publications
needed to conduct an inventory; the estimated duration
of the inventory; and the responsibilities of the current
primary hand receipt holders.
Next, visit the outgoing company commander and discuss the change-of-command
inventory schedule in detail. The schedule should allow time to inventory
all unit property thoroughly and complete administrative actions required
by regulations. The outgoing commander should allow time for you to visit
the unit supply room and review all sub-hand receipts.
Develop an accountability matrix for property listed on the unit’s
table of distribution and allowances (TDA), modification table of organization
and equipment (MTOE), or joint table of allowances (JTA). This matrix can
serve as a managerial tool to facilitate the inventory and reconcile any
discrepancies. Pay special attention to items not
to user level.
Prepare a list of all technical manuals, supply catalogs, and supply and
technical bulletins pertaining to the equipment on your hand receipt, including
their latest publication date. Ask your unit supply sergeant to develop
a publications library of all pertinent publications. These publications
will provide you with a pictorial description of your equipment and indicate
whether or not it has components. DA Pamphlet 25–30, The Army Publishing
Program, provides a listing of publications. They are revised often, so
ask the unit supply sergeant to maintain an up-to-date set so that you
can track changes that affect your equipment and its associated components.
Each sub-hand receipt holder also should have a copy of publications pertaining
to property for which he has responsibility.
Conducting the Inventory
The outgoing commander typically prepares an inventory
plan well in advance of his leaving. The plan addresses
major requirements of the inventory, lists the schedule
to be followed, and incorporates this plan into a coordinated
unit training schedule.
An incoming company commander usually has 30 days to inventory
all property before the formal change of command and transfer
of the unit hand receipt. The unit supply sergeant should
escort you and the outgoing commander during the inventory.
It is helpful to have communications and maintenance subject-matter
experts available to answer questions about sets, kits,
and outfits and components that can sometimes be complex.
The outgoing commander should make sure that sub-hand receipt
holders are prepared for the inventory. One way of doing
this is by holding a
pre-inventory briefing with key personnel the day before
the inventory begins.
As the incoming commander, you should inventory
all equipment by LIN, using all applicable publications
to identify each type of assigned equipment. Be sure to
count the items and verify serial numbers; do not simply
rely on the hand receipts. If shortages are discovered,
give sub-hand receipt holders time to search for the items
before compiling a list of items that cannot be found.
Remember: You have not assumed responsibility as the primary
hand receipt holder yet and cannot process forms of relief
from responsibility, so keep your battalion commander and
S–4 informed and use AR 735–5 as a reference.
Make sure you record shortages on the appropriate annex
and post them to your matrix.
Once the inventory is underway, it is good practice to have the unit supply
sergeant conduct administrative actions, such as updating sub-hand receipts
and generating forms of relief from responsibility as required. Keep track
of the administrative actions that should be conducted and coordinate with
the unit supply sergeant to make sure all actions are completed before
the next day’s inventory proceedings.
Develop an inventory plan that suits you and
your unit. Remember that all property acquired by the Army must be accounted
for as prescribed by applicable Army regulations. You should take this
inventory seriously; otherwise, your accountability program will be doomed
before you even assume command.
Unit Supply Sergeant Audit
AR 710–2 does not discuss the unit supply sergeant’s manual
audit of the hand receipt. A
forward-thinking company commander will ensure that he and the unit supply
sergeant schedule a manual audit on the unit’s approved annual training
schedule. This manual audit serves as a managerial tool and provides a
checks and balances system that can be used to validate that all unit property
is accounted for when your unit supply sergeant is reassigned out of your
unit. The audit also alerts the incoming unit supply sergeant of property
that is on loan and accounted for as prescribed by regulation. Before the
outgoing unit supply sergeant departs, he and the incoming unit supply
sergeant should brief you after the manual audit is complete so that there
will be no surprises down the road.
To maintain the integrity of the manual audit, certain reports must be
obtained in advance. The Personnel Asset Inventory Report and manning roster,
which can be obtained from the battalion personnel administration center,
verify that individuals assigned as sub-hand receipt holders are actually
assigned to your unit. A copy of the current primary hand receipt should
be obtained from the installation PBO before the audit. It is important
to remember that some sytems have many components that are listed as separate
LINs in the property book. For example, a 30,000-watt generator is used
to operate a reverse osmosis water purification unit, but it is has a separate
LIN. Also review the due-in column of the primary hand receipt to confirm
whether items received have been recorded correctly. Failure to confirm
that items listed in the “due-in” column have been received
could result in the ordering of unneeded equipment costing thousands of
The lists that follow contain guidance that is not necessarily
grounded in doctrine. Rather, it is derived from my personal
property management experience. It is shared in an effort
to help company commanders and their supply sergeants establish
and maintain a successful property accountability program.
First, I offer this list of “do’s”—
Ensure that copies of assumption of appointment orders and updated signature
cards are forwarded to supporting agencies and the PBO.
Before signing the hand receipt you receive from the
PBO, verify that it is an updated copy and that all changes
have been posted. Use a memorandum for record to document
any discrepancies found.
Ensure that the outgoing commander inventories unit property
assets with you. In the event that the outgoing commander
is not available, ask that a disinterested officer be appointed
on orders to represent him.
Whenever feasible, inventory like items together. (This
works well with vehicles.) Ask the sub-hand
receipt holders to be present when inventorying
property on sub-hand receipts and component hand receipts.
Once sub-hand receipts have been inventoried and manually
posted to the hand receipt listing, have sub-hand receipt
holders update their hand receipts.
Require the supply sergeant to obtain copies of all outstanding
temporary hand receipts for property loaned to other units.
Inventory property and renew the hand receipts.
Compare the authorizations on your primary hand receipt
with the current TDA, MTOE, or JTA,
Submit a DA Form 1687, Notice of Delegation
of Authority-Receipt for Supplies, to the PBO to designate
individuals who are authorized to receive and turn in
supplies on your behalf.
Verify the validity of pending
DA Forms 5504, Maintenance Requests, with pertinent maintenance
support elements and
DA Form 2404 or DA Form 5988–E, Equipment Maintenance
and Inspection Worksheet.
Verify all outstanding administrative adjustment reports
and incomplete equipment requests, receipts, and turn-ins.
Question and follow up on any documents that are older
than the date of the hand receipt. Pending documents should
be updated on the primary hand receipt at the time they
Brief all sub-hand receipt holders on the importance of
accurate accountability, the severe implications of supply
discipline infractions, and the layout of their equipment
for inventory purposes. Ensure that vehicles have all vehicle
operator maintenance equipment and all basic issue items
displayed. The tool sets, kits, and outfits should be open
and complete when the items are inventoried.
If, during the inventory, it
is determined that equipment has been lost, damaged, or destroyed
other than normal
wear and tear, take action immediately to determine
the facts leading to the loss and the amount of loss to the
Government. Assess the financial liability or provide
formal means of relief from responsibility as appropriate.
When assessing damages to property, seek assistance
from your S–4 and have a technical inspector assist
in determining the proper condition code.
Ensure that any unrecorded excess equipment found during
the inventory is secured and reported to the PBO for disposition
Ensure that shortages for expendable and nonexpendable items have been requisitioned by verifying
the document register and monthly expendable and nonexpendable
due-in listings, as appropriate.
Make sure that all nonexpendable
component and end item shortages discovered during the inventory
are processed in accordance with AR 735–5.
Relief-from-responsibility forms should be processed
for any unresolved discrepancies found when comparing
copy of the hand receipt to that of the PBO. The
reason for the discrepancy dictates what form is
used. One form
used for this is a Department of Defense (DD) Form
200, Financial Liability Investigation of Property
property loss forms must be initiated before you
sign the hand receipt.
My experience has likewise
led me to compile this list of “don’ts”—
Never delegate a physical inventory. This is your personal
responsibility as company commander. Remembering this one rule
could prevent you
from being subjected to financial liability.
Do not extend the inventory past the allotted time unless an extension
is obtained from the PBO. Before submitting a request for an extension,
make sure it has been cleared through the battalion executive officer and
the battalion commander. The executive officer usually will know if you
can get approval. However, try to prevent situations from developing that
would warrant an extension.
Do not delay initiating an investigation of financial liability for property
when loss, damage, or destruction is evident.
Do not issue property unless it is authorized by MTOE, TDA, JTA, supply
bulletin, technical manual, or other official authorization.
Do not allow temporary hand receipts for loaned property to expire. Temporary
hand receipts expire after 30 days. It is a good idea to record the name
of the individual signing for the property, his place of work, his phone
number, and the date the property is to be returned so you can follow up.
Every unit is different. The tactics that I have shared
above are intended to serve only as a guide to establishing
solid property accountability in your unit. I hope that,
by applying some of these tactics, you will be a successful
property manager and leave your successor with a unit that
has all of its property on hand and ready to perform the
functions for which it was intended.
Captain Jaren P. Powell is a training developer in the
Training Directorate of the Army Combined Arms Support
Command at Fort Lee, Virginia. He has a bachelor's degree
in criminal justice from Fayetteville State University
and is a graduate of the Basic Noncommissioned Officer
Course, the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, the Quartermaster
Officer Advanced Course, the Standard Property Book System-Redesign
Course, the Supply Management Officers Course, and the
Army Combined Arms and Services Staff School.