ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Tracking down military ammunition that comes across law enforcement agencies' investigations constitute a victory for the Joint Munitions Command.

Dave Barrington, senior criminal investigator, JMC, headed the 13-month-Green Belt Lean Six Sigma project designed to reduce duplication of effort in processing the, on average, 130 annual requests for information and technical data regarding U.S. military munition items from law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The goal of the project was to reduce duplication of effort/processing of duplicate requests by 30 percent.

"State, local, military, and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies routinely rely on the JMC law enforcement section to help them obtain records pertaining to U.S.-origin military munitions items which are seized by law enforcement, used in a crime, recovered outside the scope of military control, or otherwise a matter of interest," Barrington said

The process improvement team established operational definitions, brainstormed to identify root causes, used process mapping, cause and effect analysis, and other tools to measure, analyze, and improve the process The project team was able to effect several "quick wins" during the measure phase, including establishing a criteria to prioritize requests, improved accountability and tracking, establishing a shared database, and initiation of "up front screening" to quickly identify duplicate requests when received.

Barrington continued on with the project's importance.

"Depending upon the circumstances of the request, we may provide Ammunition Data Cards (ADC), current and former stock locations, foreign military sales transaction history, and other data regarding the items. This information is critical to the agencies in order to substantiate that the items are stolen U.S. government property and in investigation of how the items escaped government control," he said.

"For many years, JMC had an informal procedure for the processing of these requests. There was no database for the tracking of requests/items traced and it was not uncommon for us to process duplicate requests for multiple agencies submitting requests for data regarding the same item. The lack of a formal process resulted in mistakes and oversights in processing the request and unnecessary duplication of effort."

Barrington's team consisted of four subject matter experts from JMC headquarters, including representatives from the Quality Assurance, Security Assistance, and Operations, Protection, and Intelligence directorates.

The team created a standard form, standardized request format/procedures, and a formal Standard Operating Procedure for receiving/processing these requests and coordinated distribution of the form and instructions to virtually every law enforcement and intelligence agency in the U.S. through coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, National Operations Center, and state/local fusion centers throughout the country.

"We provided officials at two other AMC commands with the results of this Green Belt Project," he said. "Inquiries regarding U.S.-origin military small arms are referred to the AMC Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) (Redstone Arsenal, Ala.), where the DoD small arms registry is maintained. Inquiries regarding missiles not managed by JMC are referred to the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM, headquartered at the Redstone Arsenal, Ala.). Both organizations indicated interest in formalizing and improving their processes."

The project, according to the team, exceeded goals and many customers provided positive feedback. Since the process improvements have been in place, processing of duplicate requests has been virtually eliminated. Shared munitions tracing database has enabled each person involved in the munitions trace process to share and archive data for use with current and future requests.

From its headquarters in Rock Island, Ill., JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. Government agencies, and allied nations.