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Harnitchek talks furlough, fitness, future at quarterly Director’s Call 
By Beth Reece 

Budget cuts and impending furloughs haven’t kept the Defense Logistics Agency from being a powerful organization that draws rave reviews from its customers, Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek told a packed auditorium May 21 at a Director’s Call that was broadcast throughout the agency.


“We’re the biggest logistics operation on the planet, and I’m not exaggerating. We’re bigger in terms of scale, dollars and people than any of the services,” he said, adding that DLA employees are leading the way for the Defense Department in areas ranging from acquisition and information technology to taking care of people.


Harnitchek updated employees on current guidance from DoD regarding furloughs, which have decreased from 22 days to 11. Employees will be required to take one furlough day per week beginning no earlier than July 8. Notices are expected to be issued the week of May 28.


In response to growing concerns about sexual harassment in the military, Harnitchek stressed DLA’s zero-tolerance policy. The problem has continually grown since DoD began tracking the number of reported cases, he continued.


“None of this stuff happens in a vacuum. If you see something, you’ve got to say something,” he said, adding that employees typically either know or suspect something isn’t right just before sexual harassment issues surface.


Harnitchek also described several plans that are part of the Healthy Base Initiative, which DLA Headquarters kicked off May 15. The initiative is part of DoD’s Operation Live Well, which is designed to help reduce obesity and decrease tobacco use by fostering an environment in which healthy choices are easy. DLA was the first of 13 demonstration sites to kick off the program.


The HQC Cafeteria will soon add nutrition labels so employees have more information about the food they’re eating.


“Sometimes people have a hard time picking out what’s got fat in it, what doesn’t, where the calories are coming from, etc., so we’re going to make it easier for folks who eat in the cafeteria to make the right choice,” he said.


The agency is encouraging employees to take advantage of the three hours of fitness they are permitted each week under the DLA Fitness and Wellness Program by expanding fitness classes available in the HQC Fitness Center and buying 15 bikes for employees to use on nearby trails.


Harnitchek said employees who’ve never exercised shouldn’t be discouraged, adding that the Fitness Center will be introducing programs that help new exercisers gradually work their way to good physical health.


The director also congratulated DLA Land and Maritime for being named one of five winners of the 2013 Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence. He then presented Strategic Goals Awards, which recognize individuals and teams for their contributions toward achieving the Director’s “Big Ideas.”


Three awards were given in the Improved Customer Service category. DLA Distribution San Joaquin’s Disposal Release Order Team increased on-time performance by 8 percent to 97.51 percent while reducing disposal release order cycle time by 28 percent. The team also eliminated 700,000 cubic feet of dormant or excess stock from inventory.


DLA Land and Maritime’s Customer Operations Casualty Reporting Reduction Team improved 94 contract delivery dates by an average of 50 days and 28 contract delivery dates by more than 90 days. DLA Land and Maritime’s Forward Stocking Team also improved net effectiveness for mine countermeasure by 26 percent, ballistic missile defense by 34 percent and patrol craft ships by 46 percent.


In the Decrease Direct Material Costs category, DLA Energy’s Jet-A Conversion Working Group was awarded for its work on an initiative to use commercial-grade fuel with additives that make it meet military requirements. The program has progressed from four Air Force test locations using commercial fuel to a 2016 target for DLA Energy customers throughout the United States.


Matthew Johns from DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City, Okla., was also awarded for saving DLA and taxpayers up to $10 million by removing duplicate orders for 26 National Stock Number items associated with the F108 engine.


DLA Logistics Operations’ Stock Transport Order Implementation Planning Team was recognized for decreasing operating costs by reducing annual material handling and transportation costs by 30 percent.


Under the Reduce Inventory category, DLA Energy’s Quality Technical Support Office Team was awarded for making changes that support the Alignment with Commercial Practices initiative. The changes have the potential to reduce costs, increase the supplier base, decrease redundant or unnecessary requirements, and align DLA quality practices with commercial industry.


The final award was presented to the DLA Audit Readiness Human Performance Team from DLA Finance. The team created and published the Audit Readiness and Sustainment Awareness Communication Strategy and Execution Plan, as well as other products to educate the workforce.


Click here for DLA’s furlough information page.

Photo: Harnitchek speaking
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DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek outlines current DoD guidance on the impending furlough during a Director’s Call May 21 at the McNamara Headquarters Complex. Photo by Teodora Mocanu
Photo: Close-up of medal
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This new medal is being used to recognize employees’ contributions toward achieving the Director’s “Big Ideas.” Seven teams and one individual were presented the medal during a Director’s Call May 21 at the McNamara Headquarters Complex. Photo by Teodora Mocanu