Army system tracks ammo from warehouse to crater

The addition of electronic signatures increases accuracy and saves time in ordering ammunition, Bob Torche says.

Laurie DeWitt

TAMIS-R cuts processing time from days to about an hour

Every mortar shell the Army fires'from the ceremonial shots that went up to salute former President Ronald Reagan to attacks lobbed at targets during fighting in Iraq'starts its journey toward the sky via a Web requisition system.

The Army's G-3 Collective Training Division has deployed the software under the Training Ammunition Management Information System-Redesigned program. TAMIS-R handles all tactical and training ammunition requests worldwide for the Army, National Guard, Reserves and Marine Corps.

'I can pinpoint by unit how much ammunition was used, whether it was Operation Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle, any one of the wartime missions,' said Bob Torche, project manager of TAMIS-R. 'Within the last year, we've been trying to capture the ammo by event, by mission.'

The Army uses that information to make financial forecasts for budget and supplemental budget planning, Torche said.

'We're able to look at the entire global war on terrorism and say we expended this much. We weren't always able to do this,' he said.

The system also lets program leaders track which of the 1,100 types of ammunition in the system are being used.

Since the system went live in Iraq, soldiers and Marine Corps ammunition managers have become the biggest users. There are about 4,000 Army and Marine Corps users managing training ammunition requests online, resulting in roughly 155,000 transactions per month.

The Marine Corps uses the Army's system to request ammo from Army installations and the Retail Ordnance Logistics Management System when ordering from Marine installations.

Torche said his office is working with the Marine Corps to develop an interface for ROLMS with the TAMIS-R system.

Army Chief Warrant Officer William Lewis said troops in Iraq rely on the system to send ammunition requests to materiel management centers electronically.

The previous process was to hand-deliver forms to multiple locations, Lewis said.

'Everything was entirely done by paper. The soldiers would have to prepare a forecast using paper and pencil and submit that forecast through the chain of command,' Torche said. A forecast is a prediction of how much ammunition a unit is going to need for a year.

'We give each unit, based on priority, the authority to use a certain amount of ammo, and the unit has to prepare a training schedule to use that ammo,' Torche said. 'We look at the amount of stock available and we decide, based on the priority, how much of the ammo can be allocated to each of the units. Once the units get their authorizations, then they do their forecasts.'

One hour

That process could take days. Today, it takes about one hour from the time a unit thinks they need ammo to the time they are scheduled to pick it up, Lewis said. Users enter their requests via TAMIS-R, then digitally sign and route the forms to approving officers.

'Automated requests can be done from any computer with Internet access from anywhere in the world. I have now personally used TAMIS from locations within Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, Kuwait, Germany and now Iraq,' Lewis said.

The prime system contractor is Automated Information Management of Lanham, Md. A recently finished, redesigned system uses software by Silanis Technology of St. Laurent, Quebec.

TAMIS-R uses Silanis' ApproveIT Extensible HyperText Markup Language Server for electronic signatures, authenticated approvals and digital signing using the DOD Common Access Card, or an ePersona file if the user doesn't have a CAC.

'The addition of electronic signatures increases accuracy, saves time and allows us to electronically close out the request and capture expenditures immediately,' Torche said.

The Army's automated ammunition process started as an old mainframe system before migrating onto a Windows NT server.

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