Serious Asset Data Integrity Issues Plague US Department Of Defense

A new audit report on the U.S. Department of Defense [DoD] has called for urgent action to improve the tracking and accountability of more than 747,000 in weapons and equipment [approx. value US$626 million] supplied to Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF] since 2004, sparking fears they could end up in the wrong hands. This comes on the back of another report in March 2014 which found that the US Army did not have effective procedures for managing equipment [which included weapons, weapons systems, and other sensitive equipment] held in yards in Afghanistan awaiting repatriation back to the US.

This issue begins and ends with the integrity of the data held about these assets across the DoD’s disparate information systems which track the purchase, shipment and receipt of US-supplied weapons to Afghanistan. Of 474,823 weapon serial numbers recorded in these databases, 203,888 – approximately 43 percent – were erroneous. For example, over 47,000 weapon serial numbers were repeated up to 2 or 3 times. Another 110,000 had no shipping or receiving dates. These problems were compounded further by paper-based weapon inventory systems used by the ANSF on the ground.

Serious consequences…

Beyond the obvious risks to security and human life should untracked weapons fall into the wrong hands, there are a multitude of other serious consequences for the DoD’s asset data integrity problem including:

  • Limited accountability and no visibility of weapons provided to the ANSF
  • Non-compliance with the US 2010 National Defense Authorization Act
  • High cost of excess supply, shipping, inventory & warehousing
  • Inability to track down an oversupply of 112,000 weapons that should be removed or destroyed
  • Duplication of data entry and administration
  • Lost productivity searching for items
  • Time-consuming, erroneous physical asset audits
  • Poor decisions about requirements, logistics, supply, resourcing, budgets and more

An asset intelligence solution for tracking weapons …

Asset intelligence technology originally developed for the Australian Defence Force, and currently in use by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service for weapons tracking, would give the US DoD full visibility of arms and ancillary equipment during force use, supply and repatriation. assetDNA, from Relegen, works with existing systems to create a single point of truth.

One of its unique features is the ‘DNA’ – a globally unique identifier – that is assigned to each asset, removing reliance on serial numbers and data prone to error or duplication. This assetDNA ID is key to correlating data across disparate information systems and gaining item-level visibility of assets as they move through lifecycles, workflows, servicing, part-rotations, supply-chains and more.

assetDNA ID’s can then  be passed onto operational assets using barcode or RFID tagging systems to automate the collection of high-quality operational data using mobile applications.

Contact us to learn more!