DLA Forward Stocking … Supporting our Forward-Deployed Units

     During the past two years, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has profoundly shifted its support strategy for forward deployed units.

     DLA is well established in providing wholesale support, but has increasingly included a more retail focus.  The Maritime Customer Operations Directorate within Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Land and Maritime plays a pivotal role in providing program and supply support for the weapons systems that keep our Navy forces mission-ready.

The coastal patrol ship USS Squall (PC 7) floats off the motor transport vessel M/V Eide Transporter.  The arrival of Thunderbolt (PC 12), Squall and USS Tempest (PC 2) brings the total number to eight coastal patrol ships to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.  (Photo by MC2 Danielle Brandt)

The coastal patrol ship USS Squall (PC 7) floats off the motor transport vessel M/V Eide Transporter. The arrival of Thunderbolt (PC 12), Squall and USS Tempest (PC 2) brings the total number to eight coastal patrol ships to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
(Photo by MC2 Danielle Brandt)

     This is particularly true in DLA’s response to the Navy’s request to position essential parts in support of Mine Countermeasures (MCM), Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), and Patrol Coastal (PC) closer to the fight.  DLA’s forward staging in support of these critical platforms has received significant visibility and is a substantial portion of the 6,000 plus parts that are being stationed forward beginning in early 2011.  Working closely with our Navy partners, we identified those key readiness drivers and items that have received high operational demand from within the designated Area of Responsibility (AOR).  DLA’s move to a more retail environment has been met with great enthusiasm from our customers.

      The mission of forward-stocking parts is simple; improve readiness, reduce logistics response time (LRT), and reduce service wide transportation costs (SWT).

     With a stated objective to achieve 100 percent on hand for 5th Fleet — missile shooters, PC’s and MCM’s, we stood up a dedicated forward stocking team to provide focused support for this highly visible project.  This team quickly incorporated the additional objective of 100 percent on hand for MCM’s in Sasebo and BMD’s in Sigonella.  I was chosen to lead this cross-functional team of associates from all DLA supply chains to include Demand Planners, Supply Planners, Post Award, Buyers, Product Specialist, Weapon System Support Managers, Customer Account Specialists, and the Supply Chain Points of Contact.  This team aggressively reviewed demand and supply plans, expedited parts shortages, and adjusted systemic levers and levels to drive end-to-end supply chain solutions for this new mission.     The results of having the right parts, in the right quantity, at the right place, at the right time have been impressive.  Vice Adm. John Miller, Commander, 5th Fleet, stated, “DLA’s involvement with forward staging and management of parts has resulted in a direct and measurable improvement in materiel readiness for the MCM, BMD and PC areas of interest.”  We have seen dramatic improvements in overall support during the past year.  Specifically from 5th Fleet …

* MCM readiness has improved by 10 percent

* BMD readiness has improved by 32 percent

* PC readiness has improved by six percent

* 81 percent Reduction in Logistics Response Time

      Additionally, across all Fleets, the Navy has saved $3 million in service-wide transportation costs.  “We challenged ourselves to attain and maintain a very high standard in support of these critical platforms, explained Rear Adm. (Select) David Pimpo, Commander, DLA Land and Maritime.  “I could not be more proud of my forward stocking team and the results that they have achieved.”

     While working at an inventory control point, I have gained a greater appreciation of the complexity of supporting both diverse and aging weapons systems.  I have learned the importance of adjusting support strategies to enhance the operational Fleet mission.  It’s not just about working towards a number or percentage.  You have to remember that there are customers on ships, and those customers are underway and they need their parts. 

By Cmdr. Scott Logan, SC, USN; Maritime Readiness Officer, DLA Land and Maritime