Forward redistribution point saves taxpayer dollars
July 27, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq -- Shipping containers arrive here every day at the forward redistribution point, or FRP, filled to the brim with every imaginable item: toilet paper, pens, pencils, turbine engines, humvee repair parts, even a rock climbing wall.
As Coalition forces continue their responsible drawdown from Iraq and close bases, mobile redistribution teams comb installations looking for excess property. The items are then containerized and shipped to the FRP here for further processing.
"Up to three years ago, these items stayed behind or sometimes ended up in a burn pit, because there simply wasn't a good means to redistribute them," said Air Force Capt. Michael J. Sander, the officer in charge of one of the MRTs.
This is where the FRP comes in, said 1st Lt. Spencer R. Taylor, the accountability officer, 910th Quartermaster Company. He likened the FRP to a middleman for all the warehouses and MRTs in Iraq, a hub for excess inventory.
Each shipping container of excess property at the FRP is opened and every item is individually unpacked, processed and accounted for, said Spc. Tyeicha Nesbitt, 910th Quartermaster Company. It's a meticulous, time-consuming procedure, and a shipping container typically takes a week to empty and process, all of which is done by hand.
Their workload increased, she added, due to the recent Security Agreement, which mandated the withdrawal of Coalition forces from cities by June 30.
"Due to the (bases) closing down, they're taking all [excess] inventory and sending it over here," said the West Point, Miss. native.
It's a significant challenge, admitted Taylor, of Tupelo, Miss., especially when Soldiers must sift through a mountain of items to find the one or two which are still serviceable.
"With the big drawdown, everything will funnel and bottleneck here-which is a slow process to go through but one we feel is necessary in order to save [taxpayer] money and best utilize the equipment here [in theater]," Taylor said.
The FRP determines the serviceability of excess inventory, which is then either stored or shipped to where it is needed in Iraq or Afghanistan, he said. In this way, approximately $3.4 billion worth of serviceable inventory items have been recovered and reused, reducing wastage.
"Any time you're taking something that would have been shipped out of Iraq, and you're taking it and redirecting it to the Soldiers, you're saving the taxpayers money," he said. "Really, anything and everything can come through here."
In addition to saving taxpayer's money and facilitating the responsible drawdown of Coalition forces, the FRP also partners with Iraqis, Taylor said. The 910th QM Co. mentors Iraqi logisticians and utilizes the Iraqi Transportation Network to move unserviceable inventory to Kuwait, which encourages the development of Iraq's infrastructure.