The Right Address: Making the Single Stock Fund Work

by Lieutenant Colonel David C. Ochs, USAR, and Chief Warrant Officer (W-5) Holmes Benge, USA (Ret.)

As the Army implements the Single Stock Fund, logisticians at Fort Lewis are finding that one of the keys to success is making sure that unit and activity addresses are up to date.

    When the Single Stock Fund (SSF) was implemented at Fort Lewis, Washington, one of the significant problems discovered was the entry of inaccurate or outdated unit or activity Defense Automatic Addressing System (DAAS) information into the Department of Defense Activity Address File (DODAAF). In many cases, information entered into the DODAAF dated to the establishment of the very familiar Department of Defense Activity Address Codes (DODAACs) in the early 1970s. Often, while a unit had remained on the installation, it had been redesignated or had moved to a new location (such as a new building number, street address, or ZIP Code). In some cases, units and activities had relocated to other installations in the continental United States or overseas.

    From a procedural standpoint, any changes to a unit or activity address are supposed to be passed to the installation DODAAC coordinator for input into the DAAS. However, few unit personnel are familiar with the procedures or the requirements for keeping the DODAAF updated. From our experience at Fort Lewis, this lack of familiarity translates into logistics transactions that are frustrated by a very simple problem: the DAAS and DODAAF have the wrong location information for receiving units. If you are working in a battalion or brigade S4 shop, transportation movement control office, materiel management center, supply support activity, installation DODAAC coordinator office, or a similar unit or activity, and if you would like to ensure that repair parts are routed to the correct destination or received in a timely manner, then you may benefit from our experience.

The Situation Before the SSF

Before the transition to the SSF business process environment, few, if any, problems resulted from inaccurate addressing information recorded in the DODAAF database. Often, supplies earmarked for a particular unit were shipped to the installation's central receiving point (CRP) for further breakdown to the requesting unit. Because the shippers knew that the CRP was the only activity to receive supplies for the installation, everything came to the CRP for further distribution within that installation. The same was true for a supply support activity that supported a large number of customer units. While address problems were common, the relationship between the CRP or the supply support activity and the supported customers meant that the supplies generally reached the right units anyway.

The Need for Accurate Addresses

    With the Army's conversion to the Standard Army Retail Supply System-Objective (SARSS-O) in the early to mid-1990s, inaccurate addresses became a significant logistics problem. SARSS-O required users to place greater emphasis on the accuracy of DODAAF addressing information, especially the information recorded for SARSS-1 supply support activities. Referrals among installations and the beginning of dedicated direct delivery (door-to-door) truck shipments from the supporting regional depot to the warehouse dock of the supply support activity—intentionally bypassing the CRP—further emphasized the need for accurate DODAAF addressing data for SARSS-1 supply support activities.

    The phased implementation of the SSF has only increased the importance of accurate DODAAF information. Under the SSF milestones 1 and 2 environment, each SARSS-1 Army Working Capital Fund supply support activity becomes a forward storage activity of the Army Materiel Command. At milestone 3, current operations and maintenance SARSS-1 activities will be in the same category. As a result, for the SSF concept to function as designed, it is essential that the DODAAF addressing information for every SARSS-1 supply support activity be accurate.

    The conversion to SARSS-O ushered in the widespread use of routing identifier codes (RICs) to further identify the supporting SARSS-1 supply support activities. However, as we worked on SSF implementation at Fort Lewis, we uncovered some surprising facts about the DODAAC and RIC information recorded in the DAAS for SARSS-1 supply support activities. Frequently, the type address code (TAC) information for DODAACs listed in the DAAS is not correct. The increasing use of Federal Express (FedEx), United Parcel Service, and other commercial carriers to transport supplies from point to point makes it extremely important that the DODAAC and the RIC TAC 1 (mailing) and TAC 2 (shipping) address information are recorded accurately in the DAAS.

    In order to assist our supported units at Fort Lewis, we developed procedures for ensuring address accuracy. We recommend that they be considered for adoption throughout the Army in conjunction with SSF implementation.

    Two steps should be taken to validate the DODAAC and RIC address information recorded in the DAAS for a SARSS-1 SSA. The first is a DAAS inquiry. The second is validation of the address through the United States Postal Service (USPS).

DAAS Inquiry

    To conduct a DAAS inquiry, your first step should be to access the DAASINQ (DAAS Inquiry) web site at www.daas.dla.mil/dodaac/dodaac. From that web site, it is possible to find the valid DODAAC or RIC for any DOD activity.

    The first check in the DAASINQ is a DODAAC inquiry. As an example of a DODAAC inquiry, let's use the SARSS-1 supply support activity of the 296th Forward Support Battalion, 3d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division, at Fort Lewis. The DODAAC assigned to the supply support activity is W81X9C. After entering W81X9C, the computer screen shows the TAC 1 (the mailing address) and TAC 3 (the billing address) for that DODAAC. The TAC 2 information (the shipping address) may not be displayed because the supply support activity's mailing and shipping addresses could be the same; the TAC 1 block therefore contains the shipping information as well as the mailing address. [Shipping information normally is contained in the TAC 2 block for units outside the continental United States. The postal mailing address may be in the TAC 1 block, and the "ship to" information may be in the TAC 2 block for units outside the continental United States.]

    The important elements of the address block that must be validated are the unit or activity name, the correct building number and street name address, the "city" name, and the ZIP Code. Note that FedEx policy prohibits acceptance of a shipment without a street name in the delivery, or "ship to," address block. This information must be a part of the DAAS address information so SARSS-1 can print the "ship to" address information on the materiel release order and other transportation shipping documents.

    The second check in the DAASINQ process is a RIC inquiry. In an example using RIC WA3, associated with DODAAC W81X9C and the 296th Forward Support Battalion, the TAC address information screen must agree with the TAC information validated in the DODAAC W81X9C inquiry. However, in our example, the TAC information shown on the screen for the RIC and DODAAC do not agree. The RIC inquiry screen shows the SARSS-1 supply support activity located at Fort Riley, Kansas; this, of course, is incorrect, because the supply support activity is located at Fort Lewis. The RIC address information must be validated and then corrected through the major subordinate command's RIC coordinator so that it agrees with the address information listed for the DODAAC. (Note again that, as with the DODAAC, the shipping information shown in the TAC 1 block for the RIC may be located in the TAC 2 block for most units outside the continental United States.)

USPS Address Validation

    The second step in the RIC and DODAAC validation process, after the DAAS inquiry, is the USPS address validation. The ZIP Code, city name, or ZIP Code-and-address combination may be validated at the USPS "ZIP + 4 Code Look-up" webpage, found at http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/lookups_zip+4.html.

    To validate the address and city information found in the DAAS inquiry process, the address information is entered on the "ZIP + 4 Code Look-up" page. It is important to point out that the names of most Army National Guard and Army Reserve and some active Army installations do not serve as valid city names. In those cases, the city or town outside the installation will be the valid "city" entry. For example, Fort Pickett's "city" is Blackstone, Virginia.

    If the address and city information are not valid, the "ZIP + 4 Code Look-up" will display the "not found" screen. It then is necessary to return to the "ZIP + 4 Code Look-up" webpage and select the highlighted "City/State/ZIP Code Associations" link at the bottom of the screen. On the "City/State/ZIP Code Associations" page, the "city name" from the DAAS DODAAC or RIC TAC 1 or TAC 2 block can be entered to validate the name in the USPS city name database.

    If the city name was not valid, this same page can be used to verify the ZIP Code information. The verified ZIP Code will show the associated city name. The result returned for ZIP Code 23824-5000, for example, would identify the city name for Fort Pickett as Blackstone, Virginia. The corrected information found through this USPS site must be passed to the installation DODAAC coordinator for submission of a change to the DAAS to change the city name (in this case, from Fort Pickett to Blackstone).

    When all else fails, the USPS may provide the answer to finding difficult- to-locate units or activities. If you have only minimal information, such as the installation name, the first step in finding help is to contact the nearest USPS Address Management System office. To locate that office, access the USPS homepage at http://www.usps.com and select "Address Quality" on the gray tool bar. On the "Address Quality" webpage, select "Address Management System (AMS) Office Locator." On the resulting screen, either the large city nearest to the installation or a ZIP Code can be entered. The telephone number for the appropriate Address Management System Office then is displayed. Calling this office should assist greatly in finding valid city names and ZIP Codes.

    If the DAAS information is not correct, the initiator of a DODAAC change to the TAC 1 or TAC 2 address should contact the installation's Army Network Station (ANS) DODAAC coordinator, who can update the DODAAC information using Rapid Update (RDUP) software. DODAAC coordinators who have difficulty entering a DODAAC change or need research assistance can contact the Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) at (256) 313-2494/-2496 (DSN 897-2494/-2496). The initiator of a RIC change to the TAC address should make a formal, written request with a justification for the change and its effective date to the major subordinate command Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (Supply Maintenance Branch) RIC Coordinator. The RIC Coordinator at the command approves and forwards the change request to LOGSA.

    While this article is directed toward those individuals dealing with the DODAAC and RIC who are assigned to a supporting supply support activity, any unit DODAAC listed in the DAAS may contain incorrect information. Take a few minutes to investigate your DODAAC and validate the address information. Remember, your unit TAC 2 address (your shipping address) should be the same as the DODAAC TAC 2 (or TAC 1, if the TAC 2 field is not filled in) of your supporting SARSS-1 supply support activity. Your TAC 1 address should be the same as your unit USPS mailing address.

    If you find errors or inaccurate entries, now is the time to rectify them. SSF milestone 3 operations will make it much more important that you ensure that entries for your DODAAC TAC 1 and TAC 2 are correct in the DAAS.       ALOG

    Lieutenant Colonel David C. Ochs, USAR, is the Single Stock Fund Implementation Team Site Manager at Fort Lewis, Washington. A Field Artillery officer, he holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College.

    Chief Warrant Officer (W-5) Holmes D. Benge, USA (Ret.), is a Department of the Army civilian with the Single Stock Fund Lead Army Materiel Command Integration Support Office Corps/Theater Automation Support Center Team with the 304th Corps Materiel Management Center at Fort Lewis. A former supply systems technician, he holds a B.A. degree in history from Tarleton State University in Texas.