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News | Dec. 18, 2018

Commander launches innovation award ‘to meet dynamic, emerging warfighter requirements of the future’

By Alexandria Brimage-Gray Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence. On Dec. 11, the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support commander and supply chain directors also gathered in Philadelphia to sign the inaugural Declaration of Innovation.


“Part of our legacy in the past has been our ability to innovate,” DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly, said. “The Declaration of Innovation will be used too incentivize innovation at the lowest level in our organization so that we can change, adjust and better execute our mission in the future.”


He described innovation as the oxygen of modernization and hence the reason the Declaration of Innovation was birthed. 


“When crafting our Troop Support campaign plan we realized that we needed to build in the capacity to change to meet dynamic, emerging warfighter requirements of the future and the only way that we can change is through innovation,” Simerly said.


Having spent time meeting and talking with the workforce, Simerly believed the employees had good recommendations for changes or improvements within the organization. The problem lied when their recommendations were not recognized or followed-up on.


“I see the individuals who are nominated benefiting from this because it helps us to meet or answer the change recommendations that they are seeking,” Simerly said. “We want to give an avenue to reward and answer that change by recognizing people when they make those submissions.”


The recipients of the inaugural awards were nominated by their supervisors and selected based on criteria agreed upon by supply chain leadership.


The inaugural Declaration of Innovation award winner in the individual category was Rob Fagan, a junior contract specialist on the heraldic team in DLA Troop Support’s Clothing and Textiles supply chain. He was instrumental in standardizing and developing a new material to be used in flags for the military. Once implemented, his innovative idea could save the agency $1.35 million dollars a year.


“I was honored that my division chief wanted to nominate me for this award,” Fagan said. “I put a lot of time and effort into the project and traveled up and down the east coast to ensure the project kept moving forward. I initially volunteered to do the project to fix a problem that had been hampering the team for years and I didn’t expect it to turn into something so big.”


The Subsistence supply chain’s drone support team won the team category. The team examined the use of unmanned air systems, or drones, to deliver food and water to areas not accessible by normal modes of transportation.


“To not only be nominated for the first presentation of the award but to actually win it, was really special,” Nick McGinty, Subsistence industrial base planning office chief said. “Much hard work and a lot of hours have been spent on this project. It was nice to see that the team’s efforts were recognized and the hard work and long hours that went into this project were somehow validated by winning this award. 


“There are many great things happening at Troop Support, so for the team to be nominated for the inaugural presentation of this award was very gratifying and indeed an honor for not only the team but for Subsistence and for our retiring director of supplier operations, Gina Vasquez, who first brought up the idea about using drones to deliver product,” McGinty said.