By Sharonda Pearson, 401st AFSB Public AffairsAugust 12, 2013
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The 401st Army Field Support Brigade is the first unit in Afghanistan to procure the state-of-the-art weigh-in-motion system, which can record a vehicle's length, width, height, weight, number of axles and center of balance in a matter of seconds without the vehicle operator having to come to a halt.
Army Field Support Battalion-Kandahar, or AFSBn-Kandahar, 401st Army Field Support Brigade, received the first Deployable Automated Cargo Measurement System or DACMS, in Afghanistan to help expedite the retrograde of the approximate 28,000 U.S. military vehicles and trailers in Afghanistan, by December 2014.
"DACMS is exactly what we need in Afghanistan to increase velocity and reduce potential frustrated air cargo due to human error," said Lt. Col. Roy Speaks, AFSBn-Kandahar commander. "We are extremely happy to be the only deployed combat unit with this incredible capability."
The system, which consists of two laser-enabled reading posts and a set of digital floor-pad sensors, takes real-time and accurate measurements required for unit's automated load-planning systems. After all pieces have been processed, DACMS will output the data in a format that fielded logistics information technology systems can readily accept, thereby reducing measurement inaccuracies that occur from manually recording and entering the data.
"DACMS provides deploying Army units accurate weight and dimensional data much more quickly than the manual methods normally used," said Eric Larson, the Intercomp Company representative that trained 401st Army Field Support Brigade personnel on how to use the equipment. "Speeding up the process of preparing for air shipment can obviously save on personnel resources and also enhances maneuvering of forces at the operational and strategic levels."
Capt. Linda Hefner, officer-in-charge at the AFSBn-Kandahar Redistribution Property Assistance Team, says the addition of the sophisticated system, which can record a vehicle's length, width, height, weight, number of axles and center of balance without the vehicle operator having to come to a halt, has significantly improved retrograde operations.
"Before it was taking 15 to 20 minutes to manually weigh and measure equipment," she said. "Now it takes 15 to 20 seconds."
Larson believes that implementation of the DACMS system into the retrograde process will result in cost savings for the Army.
"The DACMS should eventually reduce the Army's overall transportation costs," he said. "Errors in measuring equipment at the unit and installation levels cause the job to be redone by the U.S. Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command at the ports, which results in costly charges that are eventually paid by the Army."
The completely portable system, which can be set up and torn down in approximately 30 minutes, also reduces the manpower required to weigh and measure cargo for redeployments.
"The 4-401st AFSB is continually looking for systems that fit in our continuous improvement plan to sustain and support the warfighter and aide in the retrograde process," Speaks said. "This system significantly enhances the battalion's ability to redeploy a wide range of vehicles and cargo in a short period of time, and can be operated with only two to three people. DACMS is value added and proven vital in support of the 4-401st AFSB retrograde operations."