Next to Skin and Defender Gear for Life (ILS-S)

  • Published
  • By Princess Cuthrell, Dr. Steven Reynolds and Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Fox
  • Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- In 2017, the Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate’s ILS-S Program Office fielded a new capability providing worldwide Mobility asset managers a Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) compliant capability for the full accounting of shipped, received, disposed, stocked, and issued Mobility gear. 
When the ILS-S Mobility capability was initially fielded, the Department of Air Force (DAF) policy required Airman to return all issued items to their current support site for restocking prior to departing for PCS reassignments.  The DAF policy has now changed to allow Mobility customers to retain possession of “Next to Skin” (N2S) and selected “Defender for Life” (DFL) items when permanently changing stations.
Next to Skin items are generally cold weather and fire-resistant gear such as shirts, socks, boots, and underclothes.  Once N2S items are issued and worn by Airmen, it is not hygienic to return and subsequently re-issue those items to other customers.  Therefore, returned N2S items were simply disposed of by Mobility managers.  Recent DAF policy recognizes that it doesn’t make sense to require Airmen to return N2S items, especially since it’s possible that those issued items will be needed by the originally issued customers to support deployment requirements at future PCS locations. 
The other class of Mobility items that are now authorized for customer retention during PCS moves are termed “Defender for Life” items.  DFL items include individual protection gear, such as body armor and ballistic helmets, required by selected Security Forces personnel in carrying out their daily duties.  DAF policy change, championed by Gen. Arnold Bunch, then commander of Air Force Materiel Command, and recently implemented by Maj. Gen. Linda Hurry, Director of Logistics, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering, and Force Protection, allows Security Forces personnel to retain possession of currently issued DFL items during PCS moves.
 As a result of the DAF changes, the ILS-S Program Office reacted quickly to update the ILS-S Mobility asset management IT capability to accommodate the new N2S and DFL policy.  The Mobility capability was changed to not only allow for the classification of items as N2S or DFL, but to also allow these items to transfer with customers to new PCS locations, thus ensuring seamless item accountability and visibility.  Now, whenever an Airmen out-processes through their servicing Mobility activity due to PCS reassignment, ILS-S business rules detect the N2S and DFL items currently issued to the customer and, instead of processing the items for return, allows the customer to retain possession of the items during the PCS move.  The ILS-S programmatically updates customer issue data for the retained N2S and DFL items to transfer management responsibility for the retained items to the new PCS base and clears the Airmen for PCS movement without requiring the customer to return the issued N2S and DFL assets.
Important efficiency, cost, and mission support benefits resulted from the implementation of these new ILS-S processes. 
Since Airman are no longer required to return and subsequently reissued N2S and DFL items, the new capability streamlines Airman PCS out-processing procedures.  The new capability reduces the Logistics Readiness Squadron’s (LRS) workload associated with processing N2S and DFL turn-ins.  It reduces the restocking/disposing of those returned items at the losing Mobility sites and eliminates the need for re-issuing, picking, and delivering replacement items to the same Airmen at the gaining Mobility sites.  This new ILS-S function also reduces Air Force stock re-purchase costs since N2S items are no longer returned and disposed to in turn be re-issued at the Airman’s new PCS locations.  In addition, the new ILS-S capability update also improved readiness.  Because the update enables Security Forces personnel to retain issued DFL items during PCS moves, Airmen arriving at their new duty locations will already possess the individual protective gear needed to resume their duties immediately. 
The ILS-S N2S/DFL capability includes the implementation of a new “Basis of Issue” feature that evaluates customer issue request quantities to ensure Airmen are not issued Mobility items in quantities that exceed established authorized quantities, thus precluding the cost of unnecessary new shelf stock purchases.
The N2S/DFL capability is one of numerous new enhancements the ILS-S Program Office has fielded for improving the management of Air Force Mobility assets.  The ever-agile ILS-S Program Office is continuously working to proactively develop and field additional enhancements to further improve Mobility readiness. 
Our team’s next Mobility management enhancement development will be a new capability to enable worldwide Unit Deployment Managers (UDM) to directly use the ILS-S application to specify tailored deployment bag requirements for individuals in advance of anticipated deployment dates.  LRS mobility asset managers will use those UDM system inputs as the basis for picking, assembling, and prepositioning Mobility bags for subsequent issue to the specified deploying personnel.  The development of this capability is already underway and will be fielded in the Spring of 2023. 
In addition, the ILS-S Program Office will be developing and fielding six new capability enhancements over the coming year to further improve existing enterprise Mobility asset management capabilities.
“I have experienced critical equipment being issued to me both in day-to-day use as an ICBM Missile Launch officer, as well as my deployment to Bagdad, Iraq,” said Herbert H. Hunter, Jr., Enterprise Logistics Readiness Portfolio manager.  “I love the simplistic yet cost and schedule effective improvements. Our Airman and Guardians deserve these upgrades, which eliminates one more distraction in their lives.  Kudos to Team ILS-S for making it so!”