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News | March 24, 2017

Former Distribution Commanders Visit New Distribution Headquarters

By Dawn Bonsell DLA Distribution Public Affairs

As March winds blanketed central Pennsylvania with another layer of snow, seven former Defense Logistics Agency Distribution commanders participated in DLA Distribution’s first former commanding general’s forum at the new headquarters building.  After providing the former commanders with an update on the current posture, the Distribution leadership team gleaned the perspectives of the former commanders on current and future operations. 

Army Brig. Gen. John S. Laskodi opened the forum, welcoming the six former commanders who attended in person: retired Army Maj. Gen. Michael Lally, retired Army Maj. Gen. Lynn Collyar, retired Marine Maj. Gen. Peter Talleri, retired Brig. Gen. Barbara Doornink, retired Navy Rear Adm. Thomas Traaen, and Army Brig. Gen. Richard Dix. Also attending the forum via phone was retired Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Privratsky. Framing the opening discussion with a focus on paradigm shifts, Laskodi asked the former commanders for their feedback on making the distribution network more effective. “This command provides the nation with a strategic national distribution capability in support of the national security strategy. We are thinking outside the box to provide this support more efficiently and effectively today and preserve this capability in the future,” said Laskodi. He highlighted the new Distribution headquarters building as an example. 

Laskodi turned the forum over to Scott Rosbaugh, Distribution’s Future Plans director, to present a general overview of what has changed and what has stayed the same since the former commanding generals were in command of DLA Distribution. Rosbaugh began the discussion with some of the things that have not changed significantly since their time: the working capital fund; the Distribution Standard System; resourcing infrastructure; pricing and the personnel system. The opening slide prompted discussion from the former commanders—primarily about the importance of IT systems and cyber-attack resilience. Lally, in particular, suggested Distribution look to the commercial industry for leveraging the network. Another topic of discussion focused around the branding of Distribution. According to Rosbaugh, “Distribution needs to box it, brand it, and market it as a strategic asset. We need to sell ourselves as the storage and distribution capability for the Department of Defense.” 

Joe Faris, Distribution’s Business Development director, talked about the new legislation developed that allows Distribution to create public private partnerships to provide storage and distribution capabilities on military installations for our customers. Faris also highlighted the recent successful intercontinental ballistic missile support at Hill Air Force Base as a good example of DLA’s flexibility—Distribution executed kitting and assembly to get the materials needed to the customer on time and for a reduced cost. 

Many other changes have occurred since the former commanders led the distribution network that currently holds 110 billion dollars of government owned inventory for the military services. According to Doornink, “It isn’t about warehouses anymore—it’s about managing the processes of getting materials where they need to be. It’s all about value, velocity and visibility.”  Audit readiness is also now at the forefront of Distribution’s focus, along with command and control; forward positioning/stocking; resource stewardship; a worldwide distribution contract and workload. Rosbaugh discussed how Distribution has been working successfully as a team with US TRANSCOM on foreign military sales freight consolidation and performance based logistics. 

Laskodi concluded the forum by thanking the former commanding generals for taking time to share their collective experiences. “The building we are sitting in started with an idea more than 15 years ago to make this headquarters more efficient by providing a state-of-the-art modern facility. Every commanding general along the way continued to press the system to provide a capability for the future…and today we benefit from your forward thinking.”