ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The U.S. Army Sustainment Command has incorporated a supply chain management system, the Decision Support Tool, which promotes materiel accountability and increases equipment readiness.

During a recent interview with Defense News, Gen. Gustave Perna, commander, Army Materiel Command, noted the significance of the DST system. "For the first time in my career, we can really see ourselves, and so we know where every single piece of equipment in the Army is, whether you are in the Active component, the Reserve component or the National Guard. It's never been that way; it's very powerful."

According to the Defense News article - "The Army is in the process of realigning roughly 1.2 million pieces of equipment -- roughly 500,000 pieces are not where they need to be, and 700,000 are being divested due to obsolescence."

Under the current world scenario, AMC is working to restore its repair parts and equipment for combatant commanders, who lead units that may be required to fight in a multitude of domains.

"We have the right equipment for the current fight, and we want to manage that properly, and that has taken some work," Perna said.

AMC's designation as Lead Materiel Integrator in 2011 produced a new method of operating the Army's materiel distribution processes by appointing a single manager to ensure that Soldiers have the right equipment at the right time to accomplish their missions. ASC serves as the LMI executing arm of AMC's equipping mission. Through the LMI mission and the DST, ASC ensures materiel management evolves with technological capabilities, with the goal of enhancing readiness across the materiel enterprise. The Distribution Management Center is accomplishing this mission within ASC.

To gain materiel visibility, LMI DST takes data from a variety of Army systems and houses it in the Army's Logistics Support Activity's Logistics Information Warehouse. DST is an unclassified, web-based collaborative tool, which allows Army materiel stakeholders the ability to plan and execute the Army's materiel distribution and redistribution.

This data displayed in the LMI DST provides enhanced asset visibility at all echelons, which enables readiness-focused analysis and decision making. DST gives tactical to strategic level materiel managers the ability to create plans to enhance readiness in their areas of operation, and across the Army, by filling shortages and transferring excess based on authorizations.

"This tool has enabled commands to optimize their equipment on hand, fill shortages and identify excess equipment based on current and future approved Modification Table of Organization and Equipment and Tactical Decision Aid authorizations," said Lt. Col. Rodney Smith, chief, Distribution Integration Division, DMC.

"DST gives materiel managers the capability to realign equipment on their property books to maximize readiness or fulfill high-priority requirements," said Smith. "A plan that once took days to create can now be completed in minutes. With just a few clicks of the mouse, property book officers can optimize their formation, synchronizing existing equipment on-hand against authorization."

DST has visibility of all unit property books, and can display equipment excesses and shortages, both present and future, across the enterprise.

"Managers can choose to automatically optimize their equipment, or create a sequence of priorities, based on mission requirements, to realign on-hand equipment," added Lt. Col. Smith. "DST was designed with the understanding that commanders know what's best for the areas which they command; as such, the tool can provide a recommended optimization strategy, or it can provide a customized strategy based on sequenced priorities.

"As the Army continues to adjust to and anticipate emerging missions and readiness challenges, LMI and DST provide materiel managers the visibility and flexibility they need to maximize readiness," concluded Lt. Col. Smith.