As the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Combat Logistics Support Agency, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) stands ready to support its customers.
DLA is an agency with a worldwide presence, and manages nearly five million items across nine supply chains, providing food, fuel and most of the consumables our military services need.
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Leaders from the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency, including DLA Director, Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek (center), meet in October 2012 to discuss their partnership at Navy/DLA Day at McNamara Headquarters Complex. Attendees heard from senior leaders on their role in making the partnership more efficient and cost effective. (Photo by Teodora Mocanu)
Several years ago, DLA established the Military Service Support (MSS) Division, consisting of service specific support teams at DLA Headquarters, each team headed by a National Account Manager (NAM) who serves as the ultimate conduit to the customer and their needs. The organization also has a network of Customer Support Representatives (CSRs) and Liaison Officers (LNOs) co-located with our customers to facilitate customer interaction and support.
"The MSS Division directly represents the services needs to the DLA Supply Chains and the rest of the DLA enterprise,” explained Capt. Jim Liberko, Director, MSS Division. “At the same time, the MSS Division also represents DLA equities back to the services. In short, the MSS division is the single point of entry for issues between DLA and the services."
The Navy team, headed by Capt. Bernie Knox, engages daily with DLA’s Primary Field Level Activities (PFLAs) and all areas of the NAVSUP enterprise, in order to ensure that customer support is always on target. The Navy team consists of eight highly skilled civilian and military personnel; six at DLA Headquarters in Fort Belvoir, and two CSRs, one in the Washington Navy Yard at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and the other embedded at Fleet Forces in Norfolk, Va.
“I am proud of the work that the civilians and military members of the Navy Team do each and every day,” Capt. Bernie Knox stated. “There is always a different issue to address daily, and that makes the job extremely challenging, yet absolutely rewarding.”
The Navy Team is responsible for negotiating the level of support DLA provides to the Navy by means of a Performance Based Agreement (PBA) between Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), and DLA. In this agreement, a Partnership Council, consisting of a Navy Captain and GS15 and below members from all three commands, works together to determine performance standards and address key issues that are impacting the Fleet’s logisticians.
As I have said before, by working closely with the members of the Partnership Council, we have been able to craft a strategy that will have a lasting, positive impact on the readiness of the Fleet for years to come.
The Navy also plays a critical role in the forward positioning of DLA-managed material at Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS) Distribution Centers, using a collaborative effort with NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS) Transportation and Distribution called the Special Requirement Category (SRC) process. SRC items are those items that are not normally forward-positioned using DLA’s Economic Movement Quantity (EMQ) model, but meet a rigorous, demand-based screening process. This fiscal year alone, this collaborative process added more than 4,000 National Item Identification Numbers to OCONUS Distribution Center shelves, greatly increasing the readiness of our deployed forces.
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DLA Navy National Account Manager (NAM) Team (left to right) Capt. Bernie Knox, National Account Manager; Cmdr. Bruce Begley, Deputy National Account Manager; Bruce Nelson, Customer Account Manager; Florine Johnson, Customer Account Action Officer; Glenn Paxton, NAM Action Officer; and Lt. Gerome Lopez, NAM Action Officer.
DLA has worked to improve communication with the military services for the past several years, in addition to the quarterly Partnership Council meetings, the agency initiated annual service days, featuring flag-level representation as an effective way to make sure the agency’s support is in line with the service’s needs.
The Navy team coordinates the annual “Navy/DLA Day” on-site at DLA Headquarters, where senior logistics leaders spend several hours in a round-table discussion sharing agency initiatives and efforts supporting the Navy, and checking the pulse of DLA’s support to the Navy, ensuring that the agency’s efforts are in line with the Navy’s support requirements. Making the most of key relationships, keeping costs low, while using metrics to ensure effectiveness were key points discussed by both DLA and Navy supply leaders during last year’s Navy/DLA Day held in October.
NAVSUP and DLA are continually working together to ensure that support to our Navy customers is proactive, on-target, and answers the mail. As the relationship continues to evolve over the years, expectations are that the support DLA provides will continue to improve and align DLA enterprise resources with Navy’s requirements … providing top-notch support that is cost effective, and there when the Fleet needs it.
By Cmdr. Bruce Begley, SC, USN; Deputy Navy National Account Manager, Defense Logistics Agency