By Summer BarkleyFebruary 25, 2016
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Feb. 25, 2016) -- A joint venture between 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Army Sustainment Command and 401st Army Field Support Brigade that began in March 2014 continues today. The mission, known as Task Force Jesup, centers on establishing an accountability trail for $2.2 billion worth of equipment 'lost' in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2015.
Named after Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Jesup, known as the 'Father of the Modern Quartermaster Corps', the task force, based at Bagram Airfield, combs through records to reconstruct the various property transactions for thousands of pieces of equipment ranging in size from hand-held items to mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles with curb weights of more than 20 tons. While it may be easy to lose small items, it's more difficult to understand how an Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP) can be lost. The answer is it was never really lost, but misplaced.
"Task Force Jesup is the reconciliation of efforts for property management in the CJOA-A (Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan)," said Gloria D. Blake, Theater Provided Equipment-Afghanistan Program Manager.
Blake said Task Force Jesup provides 'a centralized and synchronized property effort' that leverages logistics partners from the tactical unit levels to elements at the strategic level. Some of the keys to success are found on Installation Process, a worldwide review platform of various automated property accountability systems, synchronizing with Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services records, combat loss reconciliation and working with all strategic partners.
The task force found that the lack of accountability of equipment was due to several factors: the hectic operations tempo and robust influx of equipment from Operation Iraqi Freedom into Afghanistan, along with equipment rapidly fielded by Army and joint program managers and rushed into theater.
"We continue to see additional recovery of items," said Blake. "We are committed to locating and establishing the audit trail for the equipment identified as missing in the CJOA-A."
Blake credits the 'found on installation' warehouse program as an important element in the recovery process where units can bring in any type of equipment they find in their areas of operation for turn in. The FOI personnel accept the equipment and begin research to re-establish the accountability trail and bring it back to accurate record. These results are then briefed at the highest levels of the Army and Department of Defense.
Blake and her team also understand the need to balance Soldier requirements and the property accountability. She said 'there is no higher priority than the safety of our troops and equipping them is the first priority'. But she added that property accountability goes hand-in-hand with equipping the force because 'the equipment we lose today is equipment we cannot project (as available) for tomorrow'.
"It is critical that property accountability always stays at the forefront of equipping our Soldiers," she said.
The total amount of property accounted for and recovered by Task Force Jesup is $1.4 billion as of Jan. 30, 2016.