By U.S. ArmyAugust 12, 2011
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. " In July 2010, the Department of the Army created a program aimed at accounting for all U.S. Army-owned equipment.
According to SDDC supply experts, the program has received considerable attention within this command; a command that has seen " in addition to its wartime commitments " a significant Base Realignment and Closure move from Fort Eustis, Va., and Alexandria, Va., to Scott AFB, Ill., that was completed in 2010.
According to Lugene Ryan, a Logistics Management Specialist with SDDC G1/4, the program was initially started in 2008 when the chief of staff of the Army tasked Department of the Army G4 to develop a campaign to reintegrate supply excess back into the system and change the culture of property accountability across the Army.
“Last year, [Department of the Army G4] unveiled the Property Accountability Campaign and tasked all Army units and organizations to develop plans and ideas to create and promote property accountability and better supply discipline within the units,” Ryan explained.
A decade of war -- combined with the largest organizational change since World War II; an equipment modernization effort that led to more than $200 billion in new equipment fielding; and an unprecedented amount of Army property and supplies being received, laterally transferred and turned in -- are several of the main reasons the Army revitalized property accountability, according to a 2010 Army chief of staff memo.
“The Army created this program to raise awareness of the importance of property accountability,” added Ryan. “We have [video teleconferences] with [Army G4] every month, and they’ve told us this campaign is enduring; it’s serious business.”
And SDDC’s efforts to promote property accountability are also serious and equally enduring.
“Pushing information out in a regulation is easy, but we’re hoping we can draw people’s attention to the program and create command-wide interest in property accountability,” said Ryan.
According to Bernard Walls, chief, G1/4 Logistics Division, one significant step toward property accountability in SDDC is a program dubbed, “War on Excess,” or WOE. He said his division hosts Logistics Readiness Reviews quarterly with brigade-level logistics personnel to synchronize functions and discuss strategies to improve the command’s logistics readiness.
As part of the WOE program, Hq. SDDC and brigades turn in or transfer excess equipment that can be reutilized throughout the command and other Department of Defense agencies.
According to Walls, the program is showing big benefits. He said the quarterly reports show this command has returned or redistributed more than $4.6 million in equipment since the creation of the WOE program about two years ago. He said the $4.6 million includes about $700,000 in redistributed items within SDDC and nearly $4 million in excess equipment turned-in.
“When I look at these numbers, I can only imagine what kind of savings a much larger command would see,” added Walls. “[Those numbers] tell me the supply personnel in SDDC headquarters and our brigades are doing their work. It tells me they’re making sure we have what we’re supposed to have.
“The Army has a rule: anything excess should be turned in. That’s what we’re doing. And when excess equipment is turned in, that means it goes back into the system and other Department of Defense agencies can use it, and that saves us money.”
Ryan added that the Army, as a whole, has captured $5 to $6 billion since the Property Accountability Program began. He said the program re-emphasized the importance of property accountability and placed the responsibility squarely in commanders’ laps.
“This program is creating a better supply era where people know what they’re supposed to do, commanders are involved, and supply personnel are adequately trained,” said Ryan.
“Property accountability is everyone’s responsibility,” he added. “Sometimes we think it’s only the responsibility of the supply personnel, but that’s not the case. It’s everybody’s responsibility. If you see something suspicious -- like someone walking out the door with a computer -- we want you to say something, because that could be your taxpayer dollars walking out the door.”
Although many SDDC employees don’t move property on a daily basis, Ryan said it’s still important they are aware of and understand their responsibilities in safeguarding government property.
As an “old supply sergeant” himself, Walls said he is well aware of how important the program is.
“You’re dealing with tax dollars and we have to be fiscally responsible,” he said. “Sometimes people don’t think about it; when they move a computer or move a monitor, they’re moving government property. You have to do it the right way; otherwise, someone is going to end up paying for it. We’re getting our property accountability program out there as much as we can to help people understand why it’s important.”
Walls and his team are using a variety of communication methods to spread the message of property accountability throughout the command, including newsletters, flyers, posters, articles in the TRANSLOG, and more.
“We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from other agencies who’ve seen the products we’ve produced in support of the program,” he said. “Major Army commands and Army Service Component Commands worldwide have requested copies of our property accountability posters to use as training aids in their own functional areas.” In fact, the command’s program was recently highlighted in the Department of the Army G4 property accountability newsletter.
“Bottom line, we want employees to be good stewards of government property,” added Walls.