Defense Logistics Agency and the Navy Supply Corps: Partners in Warfighter Support

BY CAPT. JEFF DAVIS Director, Sustainment Solutions Division, Defense Logistics Agency Headquarters

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) was first established in 1961 as the Defense Supply Agency and on January 1, 1977, became the Defense Logistics Agency. The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 identified DLA as a combat support agency that today manages nine supply chains – Subsistence, Clothing and Textiles, Construction and Equipment, Medical, Industrial Hardware, Aviation Systems, Land Systems, Maritime Systems, and Fuel/Energy.

Throughout its history, DLA has enjoyed a strong connection to the Navy Supply Corps community. Several distinguished Navy Supply Corps officers have served as DLA director throughout its history, including Vice Adm. Keith Lippert, Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek, Vice Adm. Alan Thompson and Vice Adm. Edward Straw. Today, over 114 Supply Corps officers support DLA mission execution around the globe on any given day.

DLA’s global team of 26,000 military and civilian professionals provides more than $37 billion in goods and services annually through its six major subordinate commands (MSCs) – DLA Troop Support, DLA Aviation, DLA Land and Maritime, DLA Energy, DLA Distribution, and DLA Disposition Services. Here is a brief overview of DLA MSCs and regional commands, and how they are aligned to support warfighter requirements.

DLA Troop Support provides U.S. service members with food, clothing, textiles, medicines, medical equipment, construction supplies and equipment, and repair parts for major weapons systems. They also support other federal agencies, and humanitarian and disaster relief efforts around the world.

DLA Aviation supports 2,200 weapon systems as the military’s primary source for more than 1.2 million repair parts and operating supply items with fiscal year 2018 (FY18) annual sales valued at $5.8 billion. In FY18, DLA Aviation’s dedicated team of more than 3,500professionals served more than 12,000 customers and processed more than 3.1 million customer orders to 4,000 suppliers.

DLA Land and Maritime is led by Rear Adm. John Palmer, and manages 1.9 million items, awards more than 651,000 contracts annually, supports nearly 1,900 weapon systems, and handles more than 9million orders annually, with annual sales topping $3 billion.

DLA Energy provides energy to the military services, the Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal agencies at more than 4,000 locations worldwide. In FY18, DLA Energy recorded approximately$10.5 billion in sales and issued a total of 4.036 billion gallons of fuel.

DLA Distribution is led by Rear Adm. Kevin Jones, and has more than 50 locations worldwide that include distribution centers, an expeditionary team that serves as a mobile distribution center, consolidation and containerization points, theater consolidation and shipping points, materiel processing centers, recruit training centers and meals ready to eat storage sites. DLA Distribution supply centers manage materiel and offer services including storage, distribution, custom kitting, specialized packaging as well as transportation support and technology development—all aimed at increasing warfighter readiness. The centers and sites have more than 2 million item numbers in stock worth more than $100 billion.

DLA Disposition Services supports the reuse or disposal of materiel no longer required by military forces, both usable items and scrap. The activity accepts excess usable items from military units and facilitates its reuse by other military units, transfers appropriate materiel to other federal agencies or donates it to state and local governments. DLA Disposition Services sites are on military installations in the U.S. and abroad. To provide direct operational support, it also maintains a contingency response capability using trained and tested teams of civilians and military personnel. Their mission is to provide property disposal under austere conditions using prepositioned equipment sets.

DLA engages its customers operating around the globe with three DLA regional commands: DLA Europe & Africa; DLA Central Command & Special Operations Command; and DLA Indo-Pacific. These regional commands provide a single face to customers in U.S. European, Africa, Central, Special Operations and Pacific Commands. This arrangement streamlines our customers’ interaction and provides unified and responsive support in the theater of operations.

The relationship between the Navy supply community and DLA remains strong. The articles that follow offer a snapshot of the warfighter support DLA and the Navy Supply Corps officers serving on the DLA team provide. For many, these articles will provide updates on initiatives that intersect with Navy and supply community priorities. For those new to the Navy supply community, this will provide a good initiation into DLA and its relevance to the Supply Corps community and warfighter support. In either case, the common theme will be our shared commitment to warfighter support. Warfighter first!

DLA’s global team provides support through its six MSCs. Here
is an overview of DLA MSCs and regional commands, and how
they are aligned to support warfighter requirements.
Sailors aboard the Arleigh
Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS
Fitzgerald (DDG 62) pull in a fuel line on the
ship’s forecastle during a fueling-at-sea with
Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment
oiler USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194).
–photo by MC3 Beverly J. Lesonik