Uniformed disposal teams prep for 2019

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services

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DLA Disposition Services’ uniformed military leaders met in Battle Creek Dec. 14-16 to recap their troops’ many contributions to the 2018 disposal mission and to align efforts and focus for the coming year.

In fiscal 2018, the reserve service members assigned to one of six geographically dispersed Disposal Support Units filled 35 agency deployment billets and contributed almost 14,000 man hours of support to its disposition mission at its sites all over the world. 29 members of five of those units also attended an annual training exercise where they processed more than 210,000 pounds of excess property at Michigan’s Camp Grayling and Fort Custer for a variety of regional units and commands.

“We are a team. We’re all working together,” said Joint Team Lead U.S. Navy Capt. Katie Boyce, who exercises oversight of the six DSUs. “It’s Warfighter First for DLA. It’s what we’re all about. It’s what we do.”

Boyce was joined by the agency’s Joint Reserve Force Deputy Director Kristin Kremer, Air Force Senior Enlisted Advisor Command Master Sgt. Carisa Blanc, DSU leaders and local civilian staff and briefers during the annual summit. The sessions included reviews of the agency’s strategic plan and focus areas for the future, an introduction to the DLA Dashboard, lessons learned from ongoing contingency operations, unit training plan briefs and unit recruitment and retention topics.

Boyce welcomed two new unit commanders and said “things we began in 2018 will continue in 2019.” She said the sub-command expects to see a gradual reduction in the number of deployments, but it remained imperative that the reserve team members maintain or achieve a fully deployable status to support any emerging contingency. Short of new, unforeseen missions, the focus of the reserve would be to continue participating in the annual Overseas Contingency Operations Readiness Training, to find opportunities to support regional exercises held by the services, and contribute to the individual site missions at disposal locations throughout CONUS. Boyce said the Joint Team would also be working to build a new culture team action plan that works forward from the positive response marks the team earned during the last survey.

“We’ve got to get our forces up – that’s our task for this year,” said Navy Master Chief Michael Bevel, the Joint Team’s senior enlisted leader and 5-year DLA vet. He said the demand signal for deployments during the past several years was “really rough” on team deployers and if the demands lessen as projected, it will be up to team leaders to help ensure the teams can continue to meet their expected deployability and readiness metrics.

 “What we’ve been working toward is all for the betterment of DLA,” Bevel said.

Kremer gave a DLA Joint Reserve Force brief, noting that an average of 73 agency reservists are on orders any given day. She confirmed that fewer mobilizations are currently expected in the coming year and said that 157 reservists supported 19 named exercises in fiscal 2018 and gave 36,000 man days of support. She also praised reserve force leaders for the high marks the organization received in the most recent employee culture survey.

“[HQ leaders] recognize what you guys do and often give kudos,” Kremer said. “What you bring to DLA is noted and it’s appreciated.”