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Marine Corps Systems Command

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MCB Quantico, Va.
Item Unique Identification sets stage for greater accountability

By Jim Katzaman, MCSC Corporate Communications | | February 19, 2014

At the foot of relics of past conflicts, Marine Corps officials placed an item unique identification marking on an M32A1 multi-shot grenade launcher, the 1 millionth piece of equipment to carry an IUID designation in the last two and a half years.

The ceremony took place Feb. 18 among the historical displays at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va. The scene contrasted heroics of years gone by with technology that will drive success in the future.

“This is a game-changer for how we’ll keep track of our equipment,” said Brig. Gen. Frank Kelley, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command. He noted that the IUID program is embedded within MCSC Acquisition Logistics and Product Support.

“At the end of the day we’ll be held accountable, and this [IUID placement] symbolizes how we’ll bring logistics into the 21st century,” he said.

MCSC is responsible for the IUID program as the Department of the Navy's systems command for Marine Corps ground weapon and information technology systems. It is also the Marine Corps commandant's agent for acquisition and sustainment of warfighting systems and equipment.

As envisioned by the Marine Corps, IUID use improves data discovery and interoperability across acquisition and operational logistics domains. It offers greater visibility throughout the logistics chain and improved insight into the health of serialized items.

Information gleaned as items are tracked through their lifecycle will give the Department of Defense accurate information for asset management and valuation. In this way, IUID will set the foundation for total lifecycle management.

“It’s not about marking. It’s what are you going to do with these marks,” said Lt. Gen. William Faulkner, deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics, who participated in the IUID ceremony. “This is a big deal to me and a big deal to the Marine Corps to turn this into a war fighting capability.”

Tapping into IUID information, the general said, will enhance how the Marine Corps does business and serves Marines.

“If we get a component worth more than $5,000, how do we know if it’s worth sustaining? The IUID gives the history that gives the answer,” Faulkner said. 

The participants at the ceremony agreed that the IUID program will not be an overnight success.

“It’s going to take time to do it smartly, but it’s important to do for the future,” Faulkner said. 

Rick Triviso, IUID project officer, compared the rapidly expanding use of barcodes to a football game. 

“Today we’re on the 50-yard line,” he said. It’ll take time to get to the red zone [and score]. We can make it, and we need to use that capability.”.