NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna Pennsylvania, recently hosted a class from the U.S. Army War College to give insights into the massive efforts and infrastructure required to support on going and future developing needs of the warfighter on a global scale.
Representing different branches of service, and different nations, the class contained a wide range of service needs, experience and future potential.
“We’re here today to see the scope of the operation. To see the contacts they’ll be networking with,” said Army Col. Peter Sniffin, director, Ethical Development, U.S. Army War College.
Opening remarks from Army Col. James M. Callis, Commander, DDSP, highlighted the vast responsibility and asset handling processed at DDSP. With over 50 locations worldwide, and over $105 billion in assets, DLA Distribution handles most of those assets out of the largest warehouse in the DoD system.
Callis also addressed the ongoing modernization efforts of DDSP, citing software and hardware upgrades that will be implemented over time.The modernization plan is to ensure that DDSP meets the needs of the customer as rapidly and efficiently as possible, at the lowest cost possible.
The DDSP tour guide, who has hands on knowledgeable of the entire process, describes a very quick turnaround for officers and commanders having the “eureka” moment of the scope of DLA Distribution efforts. “It’s usually within the first week of them being on the ground at DDSP,” said the tour guide, and it is easy to see why.
It doesn’t take too many steps within the 1.7 million square foot warehouse to get the feeling for how vast the supply handling is within DDSP. Down one aisle a conveyor belt is in constant motion. To either side are countless rows and stacks of bins, each containing unique parts, and each of them needing to be 100% accounted for every year. Just beyond those aisles are heavy and industrial strength automated cart systems moving on a track, ferrying assets across the warehouse. All the while forklifts, and other specialized carts driven by workers move in a concentrated but fast-paced effort.
And that is just a singular corner of the warehouse that can be seen from within the doors as you enter. Other areas conduct different operations as needed to meet the needs of the customer, and those needs are increasingly diverse and specialized.
Elsewhere in the warehouse, a series of belts lead to a large ring of chutes used to get specific material to specific sites. Empty chutes not in use are part of the expansion capability of DDSP to grow in parallel to emerging need across the globe.
The briefing and tour being offered was not a one-way conversation either. Students were interested in the potential for DLA Distribution to scale up operations in parallel to escalating global conflict, all the way to three-fourths of U.S. forces involved on multiple fronts.
DDSP is able to expand and adjust its workforce to meet all operation needs for the warfighter. One of the ways that DLA can know just what those needs are is by participating in large scale training exercises, like the upcoming Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20—the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, the drawing of equipment and the movement of personnel and equipment across the theater to various training areas. U.S.-based equipment will leave from ports in four states and arrive in six European countries. This will require the support of tens of thousands of service members and civilians in multiple nations. U.S. service members will then spread out across the region to establish intermediate staging bases with multinational forces and participate in various annual exercises. DLA will leverage the expeditionary capabilities of DLA Distribution Expeditionary and gain vital information along the way regarding resource and manpower needs.