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Materials From Bosnia Bases Being Used Worldwide

American Forces Press Service

EAGLE BASE, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Feb. 1, 2005 – U.S. Army troops aren't the only American assets pulling out of the Balkans. The installation facilities are literally being "pulled out" as well and sent to Iraq to be used in the global war on terror.

As troops pull out of the Balkans, some Army bases, such as Camp Comanche, are left standing empty. After the Army declares the bases excess, contractor Kellogg Brown & Root Services begins dismantling the buildings. This is the time for harvesting materials that can be reused either in the Balkans, the European theater or elsewhere.

KBRS representatives work with Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service staff to effectively re-use as much material as possible. DRMS is a field activity of the Defense Logistics Agency.

Host-nation agreements in the Balkans require that land be left in the same condition as it was before use by the U.S. military, which means that all base infrastructure must be removed and the land cleared. KBRS tears down the remaining infrastructure and salvages as much as possible. Anything that can be re-used is called "harvested" material. The rest is sold as scrap or is disposed of properly as waste.

KBRS representatives have worked for several years in conjunction with Arthur Welsh, the DRMS sales contracting officer in Wiesbaden, Germany, to sell the excess, harvested, recyclable materials. Notice about the materials is provided through an invitation for bid, reviewed by the SCO for compliance to all applicable regulations. The sale is conducted by the sealed-bid method.

Evan Skidmore, the KBRS excess property manager at Boyington Field, Bosnia, has been harvesting materials for several years. The harvested materials are in good condition and can be shipped to other locations, replacing or supplanting orders for new materials. The materials are issued free of charge, which saves the customer the cost of buying new items.

Many times the shipping costs are lower as well, since the materials are already in the theater or much closer to where they're needed and don't have to be shipped from the states. The amount saved is called "cost avoidance," because the used materials help avoid the costs of purchasing new materials. The cost avoidance figure for Boyington Field is approaching $5 million, according to Skidmore.

"The harvesting program is just another way DLA is supporting the warfighter with innovative ways to reduce the cost of war without sacrificing the quality of materials used to conduct the war," said David Porter, the DLA area manager for the Balkans Region.

In September, Skidmore contacted Porter about a large quantity of concertina wire available for harvesting. Porter passed word about the wire to Calvin Bright, working on a DLA contingency support team in Camp Victory South, Iraq. Bright is a material management specialist with the Defense Logistics Information Service, another DLA field activity, collocated with DRMS in Battle Creek, Mich.

Bright was able to find customers in Iraq who already had requisitions in for new concertina wire from the states and were glad to accept the used wire for only the minimal shipping costs. Bright knew from his deployment at Camp Victory how desperately the wire is needed for troop protection.

"If it wasn't for this cooperation between David, Evan and me, this transfer of equipment would not have been possible and the units here in Iraq might still be trying to requisition this material," Bright said. "Plus, this will provide a savings of just under a half million dollars, and that's a better use of taxpayer dollars."

In October and November, 10 containers of concertina wire, about 3,200 rolls, were shipped to Iraq. In December, another 10 containers with 2,600 rolls of wire and 5,400 metal posts were also shipped to Iraq. The total cost avoidance for the wire and posts is estimated at $412,362, almost 10 percent of all savings to date.

To Porter, it's all about being a team player. "Working with the soldiers here in the field gives me a new sense of personal involvement and patriotism. I cannot go after the terrorists myself, but I can help make those who pursue the terrorists more effective and their lives safer through DLA's products and initiatives," he said. "And I cannot do my job without the advice and support of hundreds of hardworking DLA professionals. It is profoundly satisfying to be the one face of DLA to the customer here in the Balkans region."

DRMS provides Defense Department activities worldwide with reuse, recycling and disposal solutions focusing on efficiency, cost avoidance and environmental compliance. In fiscal 2004, DRMS reutilized, transferred or donated more than $1.7 billion worth of military excess property.

DLIS creates, obtains, manages and integrates data from several sources. It shares this data through user-friendly products and services that support logistics operations throughout the Defense Department, other federal agencies and elements of the private sector. DLIS's expertise in cataloging and information management makes it an important contributor to electronic commerce between the government and its many suppliers.

DLA provides supply support, and technical and logistics services to the U.S. military services and several federal civilian agencies. With headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va., the agency is the one source for nearly every consumable item, whether for combat readiness, emergency preparedness or day-to-day operations.

(From a Defense Logistics Agency news release.)

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