21st TSC uses automation to track weapons

by Staff Sgt. Warren W. Wright Jr.
21st TSC Public Affairs

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command is using advanced technology to enhance effectiveness in the arms room, ensuring proper tracking and inventory of its weapons systems and sensitive items.

Smartrack Digital Arms Room is a fully automated, electronic information software used to conduct inventory and accountability and to maintain up-to-date maintenance records on their weapons systems.

“It makes things a lot easier and faster,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Espinoza, an armament repairer with Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 21st TSC. “We use it for issuing (weapons), maintenance, as well as keeping track of who uses the weapon each time.”

Smartrack helps armorers keep track of their weapons as well as speeding up the process of issuing those weapon systems to Soldiers.

“All you need is your ID card and your pin number and I can pull up all the information about you and make sure it’s physically you,” Espinoza said. “It’s less time consuming, it’s more effective and more efficient to keep track of a weapon.”

Espinoza added that in the past, when armorers used paper records to keep track of weapons, armorers would have to open their arms room up to an hour prior to issuing weapons in order to ensure enough time was available. Now, with the Smartrack system, armorers can cut that time in half.

“It just takes a couple of seconds to find a person (in the system),” Espinoza said. “Instead of looking through a folder, I can just type in your name and I can pinpoint everyone to their specific weapon.”

Though the chance of a computer crash is always a possibility, Espinoza is prepared for the worst.

“We have a backup to the backup,” he said. “The system has an external hard drive, and we also have backup paperwork.”

The process of assigning newly arriving Soldiers a weapon has also been sped up.

“To in-process a person it only takes a minute at the most, whereas back in the day, it would take 10 to 20 minutes to find the weapon, to find a slot, and to input you into the system,” Espinoza said. “Now, I pull you up in the system, assign you a weapon and that’s it.”

Though the system is not in wide use across the Army, other units are capitalizing on the time saving benefits of Smartrack.

“The person who taught the course said that units at Fort Campbell and Fort Brag have it,” Espinoza said. “They use it and they love it.”

Espinoza and other armorers operating Smartrack are using the system for more than just issuing weapons to Soldiers. It’s also being used to maintain inventory on weapons and other sensitive items.

“I can keep track of whatever you need,” Espinoza said. “Whatever you have in your property book, you can import it into this and it will keep track of it.”