Insights from the Supply Corps Senior Leadership Symposium

BY BENJAMIN A. BENSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND

The 2016 Navy Supply Corps Senior Leadership Symposium brought together more than 200 active and Reserve flag officers, captains and captain selects, as well as Senior Executive Service members, at the National Conference Center, Leesburg, Virginia, Nov. 2-4. The professional engagement addressed a wide range of Supply Corps topics and provided unique perspectives from across the Navy and the Supply Corps.

Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Commander and Chief of Supply Corps Rear Adm. Jonathan A. Yuen set the tone for presentations and discussions about the important work the Supply Corps is doing every day to support the warfighter and prepare for future challenges. Organized around three themes – Setting the Strategic Stage, Professional Development and our Community, and Professional Topics of Interest – the symposium strengthened participants’ sense of community, common purpose, and understanding of the road ahead.

Supply Corps officers discuss topics presented at the symposium

Supply Corps officers discuss topics presented at the symposium

Yuen said, “Our character and competence define our relevance.” Emphasizing the relevance of the Supply Corps, he added, “we fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the warfighter. We are sustaining today, planning for tomorrow, and always supporting the Fleet.” He noted Supply Corps officers’ vital sustainment role, and that they are part of every important operational evolution. It is imperative every decision they make is lawful and mission-focused. “We must meet today’s mission while keeping an eye on tomorrow.”

Setting the Strategic Stage

Opening the first day, Director, Logistics Programs and Business Operations Division (OPNAV N41), Rear Adm. John Polowczyk; Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Acquisition and Procurement, Elliott Branch; and Director, Fleet Ordnance and Supply, U.S. Fleet Forces Command N41, Rear Adm. Peter Stamatopoulos provided participants the big Navy picture from their respective organizations. Assistant Commander NAVSUP Supply Operations and Logistics Policy (N3/4) Capt. Kevin Jones explained how the NAVSUP Enterprise supports the full range of military operations and is task-organized to support all phases of those operations in his presentation, “NAVSUP – How We Fight.”

NAVSUP is a “Fleet-focused organization with global reach,” said Jones. As an integrator of strategic, operational, and tactical logistics for the global logistics network, NAVSUP is agile, flexible, and ready to support the warfighter where it matters, when it matters, and at the right price.

Aligned with the Chief of Naval Operations’ missions, functions and tasks, NAVSUP’s precepts are to integrate with Naval, Joint and Coalition warfighting efforts, and partner with logistics providers across the Department of Defense, allies, and industry to deliver decisive maritime combat readiness to the Fleet. As a key enabler of our region and Fleet commanders, NAVSUP is embedded, aligned and integrated to support the warfighter during all operational phases throughout the full range of military operations.

Professional Development and Our Community

On the symposium’s second day, Yuen shared insights from his recent Seventh Fleet visit. Those engagements allowed him to understand how others outside the Supply Corps community view us,
noting, “I am happy to say that it is very positive, and they see our relevance in the fight.”

Yuen stated, “We are everywhere, and we make the Navy stronger by networking as a family of supply professionals, and others look to us to make it happen.” He further emphasized the contributions of the Reserve saying, “Reserve and active communities… we all wear the same uniform. They fight the same fight we fight. We as active duty need to learn what they deliver.”

2016 Symposium Group Photo

Providing a Fleet perspective, Stamatopoulos addressed the participants with Director, Logistics, Fleet Supply and Ordnance, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. John Palmer. Director for Logistics (J4), U.S. European Command, Rear Adm. Paul Verrastro in turn, provided a combatant command perspective of the Supply Corps role.

“We need to make decisions at the speed of war,” said Director for Logistics, Joint Staff (J4) Vice Adm. William A. Brown. In his presentation, he emphasized the importance of logistics to mission success noting, “a strong logistics system has a deterrence effect in itself.”

Professional Topics of Interest

Addressing professional topics of interest on the third day, Reserve director, Logistics Programs and Business Operations, Office of CNO Rear Adm. Grafton Chase provided an update on the status of husbanding service provider contracting.

Yuen reminded the Supply Corps participants, “what we do matters and how we do it matters. Our behavior must align with the CNO’s core attributes: integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness.”

Yuen said, “We are working today to encourage a culture of innovation.

In planning for tomorrow, he urged the Supply Corps officers to think about operational logistics in a contested maritime environment, concluding, “maritime logistics is a critical warfighting function, and we must be inherently agile to better support the warfighter today and in the future, as distributed operations become ever more important.”

Navy Supply Corps Senior Leadership Symposium briefs may be found on My Navy Portal at https://www.mnp.navy.mil/group/supply-corps-officers/senior-leadership-symposiums

January/February 2017