Army Change of Command Inventory

In today’s post, I’d like to share some tips on how to conduct a successful Army change of command inventory. 

Before you assume Company Command, you must conduct a formal inventory to properly accept accountability and responsibility for your unit’s equipment. Conducting a thorough, by-the-book change of command inventory will set you up for success, right from the start.

One of the greatest tidbits of advice I can give you is to prepare, be thorough, and DO NOT sign any documents until you are 100% sure they are accurate. In other words, don’t sign off on your change of command inventory until you have physically inventoried and touched everything on your inventory sheet. That way, you know what you are signing for and you won’t get yourself into trouble later on.

Although this can be time consuming, frustrating, and sometimes difficult to do, I cannot stress the importance of taking your time to do your change of command inventory the right way.

How do you prepare for your change of command inventory? That is what I will cover in the paragraphs below.

army change of command inventory

Army Change of Command Inventory Tips

What you will see below are tips from my experience, tips from former Company Commanders, and from Army Regulations.

Tips for the Incoming Company Commander

  • Visit with the Battalion Commander and Property Book Officer (PBO) to get guidance prior to the start of the inventory.
  • Verify the master change of command inventory packet compiled by the outgoing Company Commander to ensure it is complete.
  • Review DA Pam 25-30 to ensure that the most current publications are available.
  • If no publication is available an inventory list will be created to account for components.
  • Compare the property book against the sub-hand receipts to ensure all unit property is currently sub-hand receipted.
  • Identify any equipment loaned outside of the unit to ensure it’s on a valid hand receipt.
  • Conduct a 100% change of command inventory of the unit’s property and report any discrepancies to the outgoing commander for resolution.
  • Verify all discrepancies are corrected prior to assuming responsibility.
  • You have 30-days to conduct the change of command inventory and if needed, can get one 15-day extension.
  • Once all discrepancies are resolved sign the new hand receipt acknowledging responsibility for the property.

Tips for the Outgoing Company Commander

  • Ensure the incoming commander has enough people to assist with the inventory.
  • Schedule time on the training calendar for the event.
  • Ensure the Supply Sergeant has all sub-hand receipts, shortage annexes, and TMs accessible, updated and ready.
  • Be accessible for questions.
  • Fix issues as they arise.

That’s how things are supposed to work. As an M-Day, National Guard, or Army Reserve Company Commander, you have the same amount of time to conduct your inventory as your Active Duty Company Commander.

You have job and family commitments outside of the military. You can’t afford to take 30-days off from your civilian job to conduct your inventory. That’s okay.

Your secret to success is to ensure the outgoing Company Commander, Platoon Leaders, and Supply Sergeant are prepared for the change of command inventory. 

If they conduct a pre-change of command inventory, they will have enough time to find any missing items, update shortage annexes, and print the current Technical Manuals prior to you doing your inventory. This will save you countless hours of time during the actual inventory.

Personally, I conducted my incoming change of command inventory in about five business days. We had property in multiple locations, too. I simply drafted up a game-plan ahead of time and stuck with it. We did put-in some long hours, but we got the job done.

After the Inventory

Here’s some great advice I found online about what to do after you finish your inventory.

When you have finished accounting for all your property, sub-hand receipted everything down to the supervisors and users, verified serial numbers, written memorandums for all deficiencies, reconciled your non-expendable shortage annexes, and finished all the other things that I’ve mentioned above, you should be ready to sign your primary hand receipt from the PBO. After the change-of-command, don’t forget to follow-up and ensure that shortage TMs/SCs and all component shortages are placed on order. ~ MAJ Pat Flanders

Here are a quick few final tips.

Visit the Property Book Office and Supply Sergeant a month or two before you are scheduled to take command. Pick their brain and gain any helpful insights you can about the right way to do your change of command inventory. Ask them what manuals you should read ahead of time and read them.

Another great tip is to talk with former Company Commanders and ask them for any tips they can recommend. Since they have already been there and done that, they are a great source of information.

army inventory tips

Final Thoughts

In closing, you’ve probably heard horror stories of former Company Commanders who simply “signed for their property book” without conducting a change of command inventory.

Unfortunately, when these Company Commanders finished their command time and turned over their property to the incoming Company Commander, they had missing equipment and ended up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the government.

Don’t make that mistake. If you start your command time with an accurate and updated property book, it’s much easier to manage your property throughout your time in command. On the other hand, if you start with discrepancies, it will cost you (money) when you conduct your outgoing change of command inventory.

Be proactive. Be thorough when you conduct your change of command inventory and when you are in command; conduct all inventories according to schedule and to standard.

Losing government property is one of the fastest ways to get fired as a Company Commander. Ensure supply operations and inventories are a top priority and you will be good to go!

On a side note, if you have any experience with change of command inventories, I would love to hear from you. Please tell me your success tips, or personal story, about what went right and what went wrong during your inventory. Just leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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6 thoughts on “Army Change of Command Inventory”

  1. What if the outgoing commander was relived of duty and you cannot speak to him? It was not until the day he was relived that I received command. My BN Commander back dated the appointment memo. Should I just ask for the 15 days now due to my orders going to a conference during my 30 days

  2. My advice: Have a plan and don't take anybodies word for where equipment is without visual verification and a receipt. I've seen transfers of command that were very messy especially if the outgoing commander was being removed. It doesn't matter how upset the outgoing commander is they still have a responsibility to complete the inventory

    1. I had a rule that when I was doing inventories I had to touch it or it didn’t count. Don’t take anyone’s word when you are signing for something and will be held financially responsible if something goes wrong.

  3. The important part of this post is highlighted. Never sign any documents before you are sure they are 100% accurate. I got into trouble with this in a past (non-military) position. There are certain times when you cannot let someone else do your job for you, and when it comes to authorizing or documenting something, make sure you know 100% what the information says and if it’s correct. Good advice.

    1. Sorry to hear you got yourself in a jam, Rick. Verifying documents before you sign them is vitally important. People are rushed and don’t always take it seriously and when that happens, it usually comes back to haunt them.

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