BASRA, Iraq - In a tough economy, a penny saved could mean a dollar earned, even millions when it comes to a large entity such as an Army division.

In an effort to save millions of taxpayer dollars, the 1st Infantry Division initiated Operation Victory Sweep in Basra Nov. 1.

Capt. David Shaffer, the 1st Inf. Div. supply and services officer-in-charge from San Antonio, said the Big Red One is accomplishing this by reevaluating individual unit's excess assets and reducing the number of future supply purchases.

"Victory Sweep is a continuation element of Operation Clean Sweep One," Shaffer said. "It's a theater-wide mission comprised of mobile redistribution teams inspecting and consolidating all excess supplies at individual sites, then reintegrating them for forward movement."

"The excess properties are reentered into the supply system for reutilization," said Capt. Andrea So, the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Inf. Div. logistics officer from Vero Beach, Fla. "Therefore, getting the best possible value of every individual item,"

Although the MRT mission is not new, it has evolved in support of Operation Victory Sweep, So said.

"This is very important because as we reduce the footprint of the U.S. military on Iraq, we want to ensure all government resources in theater are accounted for and redistributed to units needing them or reentered in the supply system to ensure the taxpayer dollars are well-spent."

So said the division has a larger footprint in Victory Sweep, but for the mission in November, she estimated about $300,000 in excess property will be recovered, adding to the millions of dollars already saved during previous operations.

"In April, we drew excess property from the entire base and processed several containers full to the brim of (vehicle equipment), ranging from nuts and bolts to axles for tactical vehicles, including a few engines," So said. "It returned more than five million dollars ... to the supply system."

"Combined with the September mission, we reentered assets valued in the neighborhood of $7.5 million," So said.

Shaffer said the impact was almost immediately apparent after Victory Sweep began on Nov. 1.

"In less than a week, the team was able to clear 45 containers and reintegrated nearly $200,000 worth of supplies," Shaffer said.

Items not needed on ground will be shipped to warehouses, which may be used to fill requisitions in other parts of Iraq or Afghanistan.

Items not serviceable will go for repairs or into the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) to be stripped down to their components in order to get the most value out of them.

Behind the scenes, Victory Sweep requires multiple entities to work together. So said that's a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

"It is really labor-intensive, a detailed process; it takes manpower to properly and accurately account for these items," So said. "It was a very massive effort on the part of the mobile redistribution teams and all the individuals in the battalion who were involved."

"We came together as a team and just did it."

Shaffer said the missions are unit driven and each unit needs to evaluate their inventory for the upcoming missions to expedite the process.

Another aspect of Victory Sweep is to prepare all the bases in USD-S for its eventual closure and transfer to the Government of Iraq, which is just as important as collecting excess property.

"We have teams of subject matter experts ... scheduled for site visits," So said, "so we can responsibly make our exit from this country, absolutely in direct support of Operation New Dawn."