Discipline is an essential element for every person who serves in the military, and it also implies ensuring excellent care, safekeeping, and custody of the government equipment provided by the military to soldiers. Such a rule means that the person who is given military property automatically assumes responsibility for the equipment and has to do everything in their capacity to prevent its loss. Nevertheless, the incidents involving losses of equipment on the part of servicemen and women are not rare, and they entail large annual expenses for the country. Soldiers must always remember that the items provided to them by the military do not become their private property and should be returned at some point in the future. Therefore, soldiers have to observe all of the policies regulating the management of government property and be able to present information on the location of each item at any moment of their service. There are numerous ways to keep equipment secured and make sure that it always stays in possession of the soldier, and one of the most effective methods to maintain property integrity is the zip-ties use.
Before expanding on the necessary steps needed to take in order to ensure that the equipment is not lost, it is important to describe in detail the accountability of soldiers and its violation consequences. As mentioned above, it is a personal responsibility of every member of the military to take excellent care of the government equipment given to them and be able to return it in an ideal condition. According to the official Property Accountability Policies, every individual who is part of the military must “exercise reasonable and prudent actions to properly use, care for, safeguard, and dispose of all Government property” (5). In other words, a soldier or any other servicemember who receives army property must understand that they do not have an option of losing their equipment under normal circumstances. Soldiers receive a large list of equipment, including a GPS, compass, weapon and its accessories, water canteen, night-vision device, and knife. None of these items should be considered equipment of low significance since the rule of personal responsibility applies to all types of gear and property in possession of the soldier.
It is also important to understand the difference between property accountability and property responsibility to be more aware of the rules of equipment management. According to the official policies, accountability refers to the obligation to maintain records of property that show certain data which is assigned to a specific person (“Property Accountability Policies” 5). Property responsibility is an obligation of each individual to ensure proper use and care for government property entrusted in their possession (“Property Accountability Policies” 5). Thus, servicemen and women must not only care for their equipment but also keep a record of how it is used.
Every situation of military equipment must be considered a serious matter which requires investigation and entails certain outcomes, including punishment. The loss of military equipment is unacceptable due to several reasons, but one of them is the potentially dangerous consequences for the life of the soldier who did it. For instance, if servicemember loses their weapon in combat, they remain completely vulnerable in the face of the threat of the adversary. Due to the absence of a weapon, they can be unable to return fire and subsequently can be captured or even killed without any problem by the enemy. Moreover, a soldier exclusively tasked with carrying certain equipment can endanger their entire platoon by losing it. Essentially, the loss of military gear can lead to deaths or excessive injuries, as well as failed missions which once again highlights the significance of proper maintenance and storage of equipment.
Additionally, the loss of military items can lead to liability and punishment for the individual who failed to deliver on their personal responsibility. The procedure called Financial Liability Investigation of Property Loss is used to conduct an investigation and determine the person liable for the loss of property (U.S. Army). A financial liability officer appointed to explore the property loss also makes a recommendation on the liability (U.S. Army). As a result, if willful misconduct or negligence is found to be the cause of the loss, the person who engaged in them will be subject to a financial penalty. Thus, every loss entails not an only a potential danger for life but also a considerable financial burden.
It is absolutely clear that soldiers in all situations must undertake every possible measure to avoid losing their equipment. First of all, they need to know the serial numbers of their property in order to be able to find their item, for example, if it gets mixed with other similar gear. Additionally, the military equipment must never be left unattended or given to another soldier for temporary custody. In other words, the soldier should always remember and know for certain where each item in their possession is kept since they have a personal responsibility for them. At the same time, a soldier also can lose their equipment while training or in combat without even noticing it. In order to prevent such cases, the most effective method is the use of zip ties which are often neglected by some servicemembers.
Tying down attached equipment is a must in all situations, especially those involving active movement such as crawling and sprinting and constant change of locations. It is impossible to keep one’s gear in place without actually tying it to the vest or the body. Zip ties are one way of tying equipment, and they are excellent for this purpose since, by utilizing them, gear that falls out of place will still be stuck to the soldier. For instance, a radio is vital for communication in combat, and tying it to the vest with a zip tie is a reasonable and easy solution for securing the item. Zip ties also do not require tying any complex knots since they have levers that lock into one-way ramps on the strap. Thus, tying down the equipment with zip ties is a reliable way to avoid losing any gear.
Every soldier has a responsibility to keep the property of the government in a proper condition and especially ensure that it is not lost. Official policies state that all individuals serving in the military should safeguard and care for their equipment. Nevertheless, in certain situations, soldiers fail to deliver on their obligation, which entails punishment and can lead to many negative consequences, including unnecessary casualties. Using zip ties in order to tie down equipment to the soldier’s kit is a viable way to prevent any gear losses.
“Property Accountability Policies.” Army Publishing Directorate. Headquarters Department of the Army Washington. 2016. Web.
U.S. Army. “Soldiers May Be Held Accountable for Lost, Damaged Army Property.” U.S. Army, 2017. Web.