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U.S. Army Europe aims to save taxpayers $1 billion

September 24, 2012

By Michael Beaton

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (Sept. 24, 2012) -- The U.S. Army Europe's G4 aims to resolve equipment shortages for deploying units with potential savings estimated in excess of $1 billion for U.S. taxpayers and the Army.

On July 23, the U.S. Army Europe, known as USAREUR, G4 visited the Joint Multinational Training Command's G4 and property book office to identify shortages and surpluses in their inventory.

"The chief of staff of the Army set up a program, the Campaign on Property Accountability, that starts at the top and is going down into all the units within the Army," said Michael Bishop, property book officer for JMTC. "This is day four for us [JMTC], and we will finish tomorrow."

According to a June 22 Pentagon report, the two-year-old Campaign on Property Accountability, launched by then Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., has completed $46 billion worth of equipment transactions-strictly from identifying previously unaccounted-for or excess equipment and distributing it to units with shortages.

David Cable, the senior logistics analyst for USAREUR's Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G4, performed an inspection of JMTC's entire Table of Distribution and Allowances-more than 90,000 line item numbers, known as LINs, and will also visit all other major subordinate commands within USAREUR to inspect and validate their property books. Once complete, units will be able to fill shortages with the surpluses from other units at little or no cost to the Army.

"We ensure the excess can be properly identified," Cable explained. "I don't want to take something away from 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, that they need to go to combat with. I want to get their true excess, put a number against it and force them to turn it in so that if 2nd Cavalry Regiment needs it or another brigade needs it, we can free that asset up and get it issued to them. The potential savings is huge."

Following the preliminary clean-up at the unit level and then Cable's "LIN-by-LIN scrub," resourcing personnel will fill the shortages and then the Supply Assistance and Review Team will conduct an assessment.

"What we see is a lot of excess, but the Army has been moving at such a fast pace, that the authorization documents have not kept up with force-modernization fielding," Cable explained. "We've been moving at the speed of light, pushing stuff to Soldiers and worrying about the documents later. Well, now is later."

Preliminary property book inspections are conducted at the unit level and involve opening storage containers, seeing what they find, annotating what is not on the property book and doing reverse and forward inventories to make sure everything is accounted for.

Staff Sgt. Precious Knight, NCO Academy supply sergeant, is currently conducting inventories of her unit's TDA at Camp Normandy. She said she isn't as concerned about the money as most people.

"I'm more concerned about helping out my fellow soldiers," she said. "For example, we have night vision goggles, but we don't use them in the academy any more, and we're a non-deploying unit; on the other hand, there are units out there who need them on the battlefield. I am happy to be able to help out with that."

When units are missing paperwork, keep inaccurate or invalid records for equipment they have on-hand, their capability is underestimated and they have uncertain control of property. If units are missing equipment and erroneous records indicate they do have it on-hand, their capability is over-estimated and they may not be able to complete their missions.

It is for precisely these reasons that the Army is serious about supply accountability; it directly impacts overall Army readiness.

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