Each year, more and more Army equipment is written off because of inadequacies in the FLIPL process. At the U.S. Army bases in Afghanistan alone, an internal report published in October by the Pentagon’s inspector general stated that nearly $420 million in weapons and other “sensitive items” have gone missing from the bases, and are not likely to be recovered due to mismanagement and improper accounting.
Approximately 15,600 pieces of equipment—including “weapons, weapons systems, and sensitive items”—went missing in 2013 from Army facilities in Bagram and Kandaha, accounting for the $420 million in losses. The extent of these losses were only discovered following an internal audit by the Pentagon’s inspector general, who recommended that military leaders institute a series of reforms aimed at increasing transparency and strengthening mechanisms meant to detect such losses.
During the course audit, officials found that the equipment in Bagram and Kandahar storage facilities “was not being safeguarded in accordance with applicable regulations” and that some Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB) officials did not consider inventory lost, leading to improper inventorying.
Stats compiled by the inspector general show that “between 2006 and 2010, there were 174,247 pieces of equipment listed as unaccounted for” and totaling $429.5 million. “As of May 20, 2014, only 40,690 (23%) of the total pieces of equipment and $191.1 million (44%) of the total dollar amount have been recovered.”
Processing a FLIPL, let alone learning HOW to process a FLIPL (a 63 page document of legal jargon), is a tedious and time-consuming task. One of the most challenging issues in processing a FLIPL is the number of people involved. Depending on the complexity of the investigation, at least ten individuals are involved.
Adding another layer of complexity are changes to the people involved. In sustainment brigades for example, units and command teams come and go every nine to twelve months, interrupting the continuation and flow of the process.
Finally, because FLIPL processing is still somewhat of a manual process—multiple paper copies needing many signatures—the process can take months to up to a year in some cases to conclude.
Ensuring effective command supply discipline is critical to ensuring property accountability. Spacesaver has many storage solutions that can assist in maintaining control, creating accountability and avoiding FLIPLs altogether:
About Featured Image: U.S. Soldiers depart Forward Operating Base Baylough, Afghanistan, June 16, 2010, to conduct a patrol. The Soldiers are from 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. William Tremblay, U.S. Army/Released)