FORT BELVOIR, Va., Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Defense Logistics Agency employees will spend the next year celebrating 50 years of successful logistics support to America's military. They'll also continue working to improve that support with the fiscal 2012 Director's Guidance released today.
The new guidance includes 16 initiatives designed to steer employees' efforts in three focus areas: Warfighter Support, Stewardship Excellence and Workforce Development. Its opening paragraphs forecast fiscal 2012 as a tough year for DLA and its customers.
"We are a country at war, dealing with multiple security interests worldwide in an evolving and increasingly complex economic and political environment. Our customers face numerous issues related to these factors, including emerging resource restraints and the need to reconstitute key assets that were heavily used over the past decade," the document states.
Meeting warfighters' logistical needs remains DLA's top priority in fiscal 2012. That task ranges from supporting customers' readiness and sustainment levels to working with industrial activities.
The first of seven Warfighter Support initiatives is supporting operational requirements, force drawdown and equipment reset of forces in Southwest Asia.
"Some of our hardest work remains to be done," said Army Col. Michael Bird, the commander of DLA Central.
Providing logistics in a landlocked country is a daily battle, he added.
Support in Afghanistan will include optimized use of the Northern Distribution Network to deliver supplies, continued spare-parts support for critical weapons systems and expanded property disposal services. In Iraq, DLA will help ensure uninterrupted support for such commodities as food and fuel for the State Department, which assumed leadership of the U.S. presence there in October.
The agency will also work with military industrial sites that perform repairs and maintenance on major equipment and weapon systems to plan the return, reset and redistribution of equipment belonging to units redeploying from Afghanistan.
Other Warfighter Support initiatives include efforts to support the Defense Department in developing policy on the use of alternative fuel, as well as acquisition support for the 40,000 barrels of biofuels the Navy will need in 2012 to demonstrate the Navy Green Fleet, a group of ships capable of sailing on alternative fuel.
DLA Strategic Materials will also continue to move away from traditional stockpiling to better meet DoD's raw material needs. Strategic material experts will complete a rare earth study to identify critical items that warrant strategic inventory support and develop strategies to prevent shortages of those materials.
"We will also do more outreach with the services to see what their requirements are, as well as research the global market for strategic materials," said Ronnie Favors, administrator of DLA Strategic Materials.
Under Stewardship Excellence, DLA will strive to protect taxpayer resources without sacrificing support to warfighters. Acquisition professionals at DLA's primary-level field activities will continue working toward price reductions by putting high-demand items on long-term contracts and expanding the use of reverse auctions, which reduce material costs by increasing supplier competition.
To further improve acquisition practices throughout DLA, experts will conduct a comprehensive analysis of recent audit findings to address deficiencies in priority order, and implement training to improve acquisition practices.
The agency will also work to establish a more efficient and effective supply support network by capitalizing on synergies between DLA's disposal, distribution and strategic material storage processes and facilities. In one example, DLA is partnering with U.S. Transportation Command and the military services to develop Strategic Network Optimization. This will optimize the number, location and function of distribution and disposition facilities, in turn reducing operating costs and providing agility to support customers during peacetime and contingency operations.
"The SNO program is moving the Defense Department ... toward the next evolution in the global supply, distribution, disposition and transportation network," said Lynne Allen, DLA SNO program manager.
A key aspect of Stewardship Excellence is the identification of potential risks to the agency. The Enterprise Risk Management program identifies risks across the agency in areas including cyber security, procurement fraud and counterfeit parts. The five-stage process is continuous and allows the agency to mitigate and control identified risks.
In the area of counterfeit parts, officials are creating training to educate all DLA employees on how to identify a counterfeit part and what to do if they find one, said Stephen Rodock, a technical and quality analyst for DLA Logistics Operations. Other preventive steps will include additional sample testing from high-risk suppliers and the potential use of DNA marking by which manufacturers embed information in materials to identify them as original parts.
Workforce Development initiatives are designed to help DLA employees improve their skills and reach their full potential as they support DLA's mission. The first initiative is to assess and improve hiring and selection policies to ensure a diverse, high-performing workforce. Human resources officials will enhance training for hiring managers and selecting officials and use targeted recruitment to increase the diversity of applicants.
To improve management practices, refresher training on all aspects of the performance management process will be available for supervisors. Human resource officials will also review rewards and recognition policies to ensure the alignment of organizational performance, individual achievement and employee recognition.
The status of these initiatives will be tracked monthly by the DLA Executive Board, which is made up of the agency's most senior leaders, said Phyllisa Goldenberg, director of DLA Strategic Plans and Policy. Her team ensures initiatives included in the annual Director's Guidance are aligned with strategies set forth by the Defense Department and are designed to improve the entire DLA enterprise.
As a Department of Defense combat support agency, DLA provides the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies, and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services. The agency sources and provides nearly 100 percent of the consumable items America's military forces need to operate, from food, fuel and energy, to uniforms, medical supplies, and construction and barrier equipment. DLA also supplies more than 80 percent of the military's spare parts.
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., DLA has about 27,000 employees worldwide and supports about 1,900 weapon systems. For more information about DLA, go to www.dla.mil, www.facebook.com/dla.mil or http://twitter.com/dlamil.
SOURCE Defense Logistics Agency