Flexible Inventory Policies Ease Coronavirus Burdens

By Army G-4April 27, 2020

WASINGTON D.C. The Army is encouraging Commanders to be flexible in inventorying property in efforts to ease new burdens caused by the Coronavirus.

Flexibility In Inventorying Property.
Commanders are encouraged to be flexible in inventorying property to ease new burdens caused by the COVID-19 virus.
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

Historically units inventory 10 percent of their property each month, but commanders and property book officers can carry out inventories monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually in meeting their requirements of inventorying all of a unit’s property once a year.

“COVID-19 has added some unexpected missions and created an ever-changing landscape,” said CW5 Cheryl M. Bartly, Division Chief of Supply and Property Accountability in the Army G-4. “It is important for logistics leaders at all levels to know they can adjust their schedules. They need freedom to accommodate deployments, training events, crisis, missions, or operations.”

CW5 Bartly compared the inventory regulations to putting together a 1,500-piece puzzle. “When you put a puzzle together on a table, every piece you need is there, you just need to turn and fit each piece to find how to complete the puzzle,” she said. “Every Army regulation is there to create uniformity, but that does not mean the regulations are inflexible. Flexibility is built in. We just need to make sure Soldiers use that flexibility to create mission success during the pandemic.”

In conducting inventories, Soldiers will need to follow personal protective measures, including social distancing, and wearing personal protective equipment as appropriate. Soldiers still need to be responsible for the care, custody, safekeeping, proper use, and disposition of property assigned to them. Additionally, units still need to inventory weapons, ammunition, and explosives at their prescribed intervals.

But Soldiers will be authorized to conduct “inventory by exception” for non-sensitive items.  With this procedure, Soldiers can use move orders, maintenance actions, calibration checks, flight logs and other means to verify the asset is in the inventory, without having to physically see or touch it.

“This will be a tremendous help to all units during the national emergency,” CW5 Bartly said. “As long as there is a disinterested party that has a record that shows the asset is being used somewhere, it can be accounted for in the inventory.”   This method, however, cannot be used for any item with CIIC 1-6, 8, 9, $, N, P, Q, R, or night vision/navigation systems.

Since the pandemic started, audits of general equipment have been disrupted, but not cancelled. The auditors are using alternate procedures, such as having units take photos of assets, including their serial and national stock numbers, to ensure they match what is in the property books.

The Army also is encouraging increased flexibility in conducting inventory investigations. For example, during Financial Liability of Investigation Loss (FLIPL) cases, the policy allows for the use of automated tools and communications to perform interviews, obtain legal counsel, process documents, and obtain signatures.

To increase visibility of supplies being acquired to support COVID-19 missions, all Army units are now required to use a project code when processing supplies through logistics information systems, such as GCCS-Army.

“With all of these steps,” CW5 Bartly said, “the Army can better maintain a high state of readiness, while lightening the load put on us by the pandemic. It demonstrates the commitment the Army has to our people, and to doing everything we can to fight the virus.”