Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Justin Naylor
Soldiers at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield can now make online appointments two weeks in advance as part of the installation’s Central Issue Facility modernization. The CIF facilities for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield are commanded by the 406th Army Field Support Battalion-Stewart.
CIF modernizes with online appointments, less turn-ins
The Soldiers of Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield will have a different experience at their Central Issue Facilities, as they are transforming to make the issuing process easier for the warfighter.
Transitioning to appointments
Soldiers are now able to schedule appointments online for their CIF turn-in and exchanges, as the facilities are transitioning to modern storefront programs.
“After a few weeks of testing the system with the Marne Reception Center, the appointment system is now live,” said Lt. Col. Chad Moniz, the battalion commander of the 406th Army Field Support Battalion-Stewart, who is responsible for the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield CIFs. “The system will enable a better experience for the Soldier, while maintaining a forecastable schedule for the CIF staff that still needs to be ready to respond to real-world surge requirements,” he said.
Appointments will be made in 15-minute increments but the AFSBn team recommends Soldiers arrive 10 minutes early to allow for accountability. The system is set up to accommodate eight people every 15 minutes.
For now, the new program has focused times targeting different needs. Soldiers from the Marne Reception Center will be accommodated daily until 10:00 a.m. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., CIF has open appointments for any service. From 2:30 -3:30 p.m., Cr
Overhauls to adjust to transformation
While the modernization will result in welcomed improvements, the transition caused some delays for CIF customers in August and September.
Nia Landry, deputy commander of the 406th AFSBn, said that an accountable officer unexpectedly retired during the key implementation of several phases of the modernization process, forcing the CIF to conduct a 100% accountability inventory of both sites. This, combined with a large surge of Soldiers with PCS orders, caused backups in the system.
“It was not our intent in any way to inconvenience Soldiers and their families,” Landry said. “Moving forward, we have several things in place that will improve your experience at CIF, and we always welcome suggestions as we strive to get better.”
Throughout the inventories, the average throughput did not decrease. The facility on average services 100 Soldiers in the morning, and 100 in the afternoon. As a result of an uptick in approved PCS orders following a long pause with COVID-19, the Fort Stewart and HAAF facilities surged to support more than 300 customers a day.
The two CIFs support missions for not only the 3rd Infantry Division, but also a Ranger battalion, and other unique tenant units across both installations. They will continue to reduce stock by another half over the next few months as they send items to locations as directed by disposition instructions.
“We were sacrificing the time now to better support Soldiers later by improving our processes,” said Kevin Lewis, the supply and services division chief for the CIF facilities.
He explained tenant units like those in Special Forces will eventually go to systems managed by their supply sergeants to do more direct ordering. This process will solve more problems at the unit level and save Soldiers a trip across the base while also reducing strain on CIF.
Soldiers can also expect to get more of their equipment issued by their own supply rooms as fewer items are kept on hand at CIF. The facility will still handle exchanges and turn-ins. However, if units are exchanging something that is not typically stocked in the facility, it will have to be ordered.
Planning for future CIF visits, PCS moves
As thousands of 3rd ID Soldiers redeploy from Europe and South Korea in 2021 along with traditional PCS moves, it’s important to relearn what most career Soldiers already know: always try to clear CIF first.
While the experiences this summer were unprecedented, it was a good reminder for Soldiers to leave extra time in their clearing process for CIF in case they are missing items or if their equipment needs further cleaning.
“The best way to be prepared for CIF is to check your online Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment record,” Moniz said. This will tell you exactly which items you can carry with you, and which ones need to be turned in.”
“For Soldiers at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield who are in a PCS status, from now on most will only turn-in their [Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts] plates,” he said. They can carry forward their OCIE gear with their household goods through the transportation personal property office.”
While the appointment system is now open, clearing papers and orders are still required for service. To make an appointment, click on the link labeled “CIF appointment” in the bottom left corner of the individual’s OCIE clothing record.