Tracking ammo gets easier: Corps launches innovative information module
By Kaitlin Kelly, Marine Corps Systems Command
Convoys Combat Logistics Battalion 5
U.S. Marine Pfc. Olivia Rutherford, an ammo technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 5 (CLB-5), Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, counts out ammunition during Mountain Training Exercise 4-17 at Mountain Warfare Training Center, August 4, 2017. Blanks were handed to Marines to be used on the convoys in case of simulated enemy contacts. Throughout the training evolution, Marines with CLB-5 received over 9000 blank ammunition for the M16A4 service rifle for practical experience and utilizing their weapons. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Shoemaker)
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
But this summer, a team at Marine Corps Systems Command launched an upgrade to its ground ammunition inventory system, allowing for greater collection, storage and interchange of data. The enhancements to the Ordnance Information System - Marine Corps, or OIS-MC, also ensure audit readiness to meet federal standards.
The ammunition program team at MCSC maintains accurate inventory of all Marine Corps ammunition, and ensures Marines are always ready for the fight with the right ammo at the right time.
“This platform provides seamless integration of data between all of the military branches,” said Scott Rideout, program manager for ammunition at MCSC. “We are using more complex accounting principles, and this real-time processing of data helps reduce errors and accurately evaluate our inventory.”
This month, the team is using the platform to report a mandated audit to the federal government and work to achieve Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (also known as FIAR). FIAR helps federal organizations compile successful financial statement audits by using the methods of financial statement auditors. Following the FIAR method maximizes the potential for accuracy to meet government standards by defining key tasks, underlying detailed activities and resulting work products that all reporting entities should follow to become audit ready.
“The DoD standard for reporting ammunition is you have to be 95 percent accurate,” said Dennis Zarnesky, director of Inventory Control Point. “It’s extremely important that our reporting is thorough because the more accurate we are, the more efficient our process is and the better business decisions we make. That’s what audit readiness is all about.”
ICP, which falls under the ammunition program within MCSC’s Logistics Combat Element Systems, consists of Inventory Management and Systems; and Plans, Analysis, and Evaluation. Both branches work together to record everything in the Corps’ inventory, including items that are consumed, shot or disposed, such as small arms, mortars, artillery, rockets and missiles. Thanks to OIS-MC technology, recording inventory is easier, which helps ICP better serve Marines.
“We are a small group of civilians, Marines and retired military, including retired ammunition Marines, who take this job seriously and have an incredible sense of commitment and ownership,” said Zarnesky. “We know what it’s like out there in the field because we used to have that same job. Ultimately, we don’t want to let down the Marine who needs that ammunition.”
With a continued focus to increase combat readiness and free up scarce resources for critical training and operations, ICP uses OIS-MC to track the proper issue, accountability, upkeep and disposal of ammo on a daily basis. Instead of sifting through thousands of transactions and records each quarter, the platform provides everything down to the lot and serial number. If there’s an error at one of the 160 locations that track and disseminate ammo, the system can reveal that, Zarnesky said.
Efficiency and accuracy are the keys to reach audit readiness, and OIS-MC is a key piece improving ammunition auditability, Rideout said.
In the future, analytics and intelligence features will be added, and the team will continue to improve the OIS-MC with new upgrades.
“The goal is for everyone in the Marine Corps who has rights, from the Commandant and below, to be able to press a button and instantly get the information they need in future updates of the OIS-MC,” said Zarnesky. “We strive to get 100 percent accuracy rates with these future improvements to the system, and I’m confident we can do it.”