By Gray McDermid, IDZ Technologies Inc.
While automated tool control solutions, such as the popular Itelmatic™, were created for stateside operations, they can be applied to overseas deployed locations to assist with tool and equipment accountability. Today's overseas missions require units to implement structured flexibility to ensure the highest level of day-to-day accountability and ability to move operating locations in a moments notice. Currently, both the accountability and operating location transition is cumbersome, man-power intensive, and often less than perfect.
As an example, the Air Force has relied on "enabler" units, such as tactical airlift, to maintain critical in-theater supply lines. One enabler unit moved locations three times in four years. While the unit was recognized at the highest levels for its success, it was not without hardship. Nearly 20% of the unit's equipment, or about $60,000, was unaccounted for during each transition – a total of about $180,000 in unit expenses. More importantly, a few of the equipment pieces that were misplaced had no back-up and planes that required the equipment for troubleshooting were unable to be fixed, causing missions delays or cancelations. Closing critical supply lines in theater is a serious misstep, and requires a higher level or risk by deploying many truck convoys to maintain the logistics flow.