The 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., is utilizing the new Theater Integrated Combat Munitions System (TICMS) to perform 100 percent munitions inventory count which validates for more than 3,470 munition components worth an estimated $72 million.
The new system, TICMS — an Air Force-wide program released in January 2020 — saves manpower and time by allowing individuals to use a Getac. This handheld device is used to input number values, and insert the number of assets digitally, avoiding the hand-counting process. If the Getac finds a discrepancy in the number of assets then a digital recount is automatically generated.
During the semi-annual inventory count, everything in the stockpile is accounted for except outside agency custody account assets, including security forces and explosive ordnance disposal items. The stockpile includes ammunition, missiles, bomb components, explosive cartridges, small arm grenades and more.
The Combat Ammunition System, the former method used to perform inventory, involves teams using count sheets and hand-counting the number of assets in boxes stored in each facility. The semi-annual inventory is takes approximately one week to complete, starting on Monday and ending Saturday.
“You’ll have a counter and a verifier, so there’s always two people,” said Tech. Sgt. Jesus Garcia, 56th EMS noncommissioned officer in charge of munitions operations. “Each person signs their name on it saying they’ve counted and verified it. Then they give the count sheet to the reconciler and they enter number into the software to see if it’s correct or not. If it’s incorrect, another team will have to do a recount through the same process. Accuracy is paramount.”
According to Tech. Sgt. Tatiana Greer, 56th EMS custody accounts supervisor, using the new method, teams were reduced from 160 personnel to 45, saving manpower and allowing less Airmen to work on a non-duty day. The process is projected to reduce the need for recounts due to human error by 66 percent.
“They’ll input the numbers on the screen then hit enter and when it’s complete they will digitally sign,” said Greer. “That gets processed through TICMS and eliminates the need for reconcilers. All our reconcilers and munitions operations Airmen have to do is clear the structure on their screen until everything is processed and verified. Everything will be digital.”
In the future, the 56th EMS expects the process to be more effective with the Getac’s scanning method.
“Eventually, the endpoint will be to scan,” said Greer. “Every time we do an asset movement, there will be a barcode on each placard that sits on top of each box that will be scanned and it will give the amount of assets in each box. That will save even more time and resources.”
Ammo inventories 34 facilities and it takes coordination from all the Aircraft Maintenance Units to bring their munitions to the Munitions Storage Area (MSA) to be accounted for.
With every new software comes new challenges that have to be overcome. Garcia attests to the hard work of his team for keeping every item accounted for and the coordination needed to complete this task. TICMS is the way of the future for the 100 percent munition inventory count.
“The new system is far more in-depth and innovative than our old system was,” said Greer. “We can do a lot more with this system. TICMS is much more industrialized.”