RL Magazine
Edition 45
Successful Field Tests Open the Door to the Future Transport System
by Lars Mårtensson, Volvo Trucks’ Environmental Director

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During the past two years, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command supply experts have been laser-focused on a Department of the Army program aimed at accounting for all U.S. Army-owned equipment.

The Army created the program in July 2010 and, according to SDDC officials, the program has received considerable attention within this command.

According to Lugene Ryan, a logistics management specialist with SDDC’s G1/4 Manpower, Personnel and Logistics directorate, the Army-wide program was initially kick started in 2008 when the chief of staff of the Army tasked Department of the Army G4 to develop a campaign to reintegrate supply excess back into the system and change the culture of property accountability across the Army.

“In 2010, (the Army) unveiled the Property Accountability Campaign and tasked all Army units and organizations to develop plans and ideas to create and promote property accountability and better supply discipline within the units,” Ryan explained.

A decade of war — combined with the largest organizational change since World War II; an equipment modernization effort that led to more than $200 billion in new equipment fielding; and an unprecedented amount of Army property and supplies being received, laterally transferred and turned in — are several of the main reasons the Army revitalized property accountability, according to a 2010 Army chief of staff memo.

“The Army created this program to raise awareness of the importance of property accountability,” added Ryan. “We have video teleconferences with Army G4 every month, and they’ve told us this campaign is enduring; it’s serious business.”

He said SDDC’s efforts to promote property accountability are also equally serious and equally enduring.

“Pushing information out in a regulation is easy, but we’re hoping we can draw people’s attention to the program and create command-wide interest in property accountability,” added Ryan.

He added that the G1/4 directorate endorses an aggressive Command Supply Discipline Program throughout the command by reinforcing a culture of supply discipline, mentoring and training junior leaders in property accountability, and ensuring all brigade CSDP monitors are appointed in writing. G1/4 also produces a quarterly Logistics Division Property Accountability Newsletter to increase SDDC leadership’s focus on the Command Supply Discipline Program, property accountability, and inventory procedures. SDDC G4 Newsletter provides logistical guidance while distributing new policies and procedures for supply, maintenance, and equipment management throughout the command.

In addition to reinforcing a culture of supply discipline, the directorate participates annually in the Chief of Staff of the Army Supply Excellence Award competition, which recognizes organizations or groups with outstanding supply operations. SDDC has competed in the CSA SEA competition for the past 3 years and has won at the Army Materiel Command level each time.

According to Bernard Walls, chief, G1/4 Logistics Division, another significant step toward property accountability in SDDC is a program dubbed, “War on Excess,” or WOE. He said his division hosts Logistics Readiness Reviews quarterly with brigade-level logistics personnel to synchronize functions and discuss strategies to improve the command’s logistics readiness.

As part of the WOE program, Hq. SDDC and brigades turn in or transfer excess equipment that can be reutilized throughout the command and other Department of Defense agencies.

According to Walls, the program is showing big benefits. He said the quarterly reports show this command has turned in or redistributed more than $25 million in equipment since the creation of the WOE program about two years ago. He said the $25 million includes about $10.8 million in redistributed items within SDDC and nearly $14.5 million in excess equipment turned-in.

“When I look at these numbers, I can only imagine what kind of savings a much larger command would see,” added Walls. “Those numbers tell me the supply personnel in SDDC headquarters and our brigades are doing their work. It tells me they’re making sure we have what we’re supposed to have.

“The Army has a rule: anything excess should be turned in. That’s what we’re doing. And when excess equipment is turned in, that means it goes back into the system and other Department of Defense agencies can use it, and that saves us money.”

Ryan added that the Army, as a whole, has captured $57 billion since the Property Accountability Program began. He said the program re-emphasized the importance of property accountability and placed the responsibility squarely in commanders’ laps.

“This program is creating a better supply era where people know what they’re supposed to do, commanders are involved, and supply personnel are adequately trained,” said Ryan.

“Property accountability is everyone’s responsibility,” he added. “Sometimes we think it’s only the responsibility of the supply personnel, but that’s not the case. It’s everybody’s responsibility. If you see something suspicious — like someone walking out the door with a computer — we want you to say something, because that could be your taxpayer dollars walking out the door.”

Although many SDDC employees don’t move property on a daily basis, Ryan said it’s still important they are aware of and understand their responsibilities in safeguarding government property.

As an “old supply sergeant” himself, Walls said he is well aware of how important the program is.

“You’re dealing with tax dollars and we have to be fiscally responsible,” he said. “Sometimes people don’t think about it; when they move a computer or move a monitor, they’re moving government property. You have to do it the right way; otherwise, someone is going to end up paying for it. We’re getting our property accountability program out there as much as we can to help people understand why it’s important.”

Walls and his team are using a variety of communication methods to spread the message of property accountability throughout the command, including newsletters, flyers, posters, articles in the TRANSLOG, and more.

“We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from other agencies who’ve seen the products we’ve produced in support of the program,” he said. “Major Army commands and Army Service Component Commands worldwide have requested copies of our property accountability posters to use as training aids in their own functional areas.” In fact, just last year the command’s program was recently highlighted in the Department of the Army G4 property accountability newsletter.

“Bottom line, we want employees to be good stewards of government property,” added Walls.
Mark Diamond Husband and father; retired from the U.S. Air Force after 23 years of service; now working for the Command Affairs Office, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (U.S. Army). I’ve spent about 23 in a U.S. military uniform. Not long after I turned 17, I joined the Utah Army National Guard. After about three and a half years, I decided to do the military gig full time, so I joined the active-duty Air Force. I retired from the USAF in 2008 and spent a couple years as an Air Force civil service employee.

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