Change management is something the senior leaders within the Defense Logistics Agency and its Major Subordinate Commands are used to dealing with – such as finding efficiencies through strategic goals that include stronger partnerships, improved processes and harnessing new technologies to sustain warfighters.
But what if an entire workforce understood the need for process improvement and change management? What if they could embrace the opportunities and challenges posed to their sustainment mission?
Enter DLA Troop Support’s Campaign of Learning.
Launched by DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly in September 2018, the CoL consists of readings and events focused on military, technology and industry advancements that have the potential to affect the future sustainment environment.
“In order to be ready to meet future demands we have a responsibility to think clearly about the future of sustainment… a responsibility to ensure that we are not only great today, but that we can achieve an enduring greatness,” Simerly said.
To that end, Troop Support leaders developed “leaning demands,” or key questions the campaign focuses on, to help guide critical thinking while employees examined changing military, industry and sustainment landscapes as well as new technological advancements, Simerly said.
Those questions include:
Key challenges and conditions of the future sustainment environment
How these challenges and conditions influence Troop Support supply chain solutions
How to clarify sustainment challenges for broad understanding and application
What current processes can be refined to enable synchronization and integration of sustainment capabilities across all domains
What capabilities must be developed to sustain joint combat arms capabilities for the near-, mid-, and far-term
Industrial Hardware Director Air Force Col. Adrian “A.C.” Crowley embraced the campaign, supporting a recommendation from IH Technical and Quality Division Chief Jose Pereira to host a “bottom-up driven” event featuring a speaker from University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business in November 2018.
Crowley said the CoL isn’t just a great way to look at challenges and opportunities for Troop Support, but also a way for employees with ideas like the November presentation to bring value to the organization, and in turn feel valued for their contribution to its future.
“I love that the CoL is empowering,” Crowley said. “Having a conversation with an experienced, ‘outside’ speaker like [Martin Bollinger] helps the workforce see that change is real and it effects our mission. But having one of our own employees see the value in a presentation like that, and then, under the auspices of the CoL, have an avenue and the leadership support to bring that knowledge to employees at Troop Support – it’s amazing.”
Dan Keenaghan, Troop Support Process Compliance Director, also saw an opportunity to further the campaign through exploration into the potential of blockchain technology.
“By introducing blockchain to the workforce, employees can increase their confidence in data used for programs and processes every day – improving accuracy and transparence,” said Keenaghan. “Blockchain is just one example of new technologies that have the potential to improve how we carry out our sustainment mission for the warfighter.”
Simerly said the campaign is more than just raising awareness of challenges and opportunities. It’s a deliberate approach to disciplined thinking that is meant to “set conditions for [the workforce] to think, learn, analyze, implement and communicate future sustainment solutions.”
“We may not know exactly what’s coming next,” Simerly said, “but arming our talented workforce with the right information from our military customers, industry partners and DLA Headquarters R&D teams, means we’ll be able to support the warfighter no matter what change may come.”