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News | Aug. 10, 2020

New DLA director outlines priorities in video message to employees

By Beth Reece

Continuing world-class warfighter support and taking care of employees are among four priorities new Defense Logistics Agency Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic outlines in a video to employees.

“We have the opportunity to build on previous initiatives at DLA and deliver even better service to our customers,” she said. “To that end, my priorities are: taking care of our people; fostering a culture of performance and accountability; focusing on DLA’s alignment with the National Defense Strategy and what we do best; and putting customers at the center of everything we do.”

Skubic said she’s proud of her background as a DLA Land and Maritime commander and her time at DLA Aviation, both of which helped her understand the importance of delivering repair parts to warfighters.

“However, it was my deployment embedded with Army Central Command as the DLA Support Team commander in Kuwait that really enhanced my appreciation for the full spectrum of DLA support to our warfighters serving forward,” she said.

As the agency works toward improving its support and balancing costs, employees must foster a deep understanding of customers’ needs and goals while finding innovative solutions that improve business practices, she said. 

“The world is changing, our customers’ demands are changing, and we must keep pace with the change,” the director said, adding that the team must leverage its skills and vision to enhance the speed and reliability of DLA’s high-volume support.

The agency will harness technology and training to ensure employees are equipped with tools and skills to meet customers’ goals, and leaders will attract, develop and retain talent through a culture of mentorship, collaboration and support, Skubic continued.

While the pandemic has proven employees’ dedication to DLA’s mission even amid great challenges, she said it can take a toll and encouraged communication.

“There is no more critical time than now to take care of each other,” she said. “We can’t assume that because our colleagues were OK a couple of weeks ago that their situation remains the same.”

She assured employees that leaders will continually assess conditions and mitigate risks to protect them and their families, and pointed to the Employee Assistance Program and DLA’s Coronavirus webpage for information on resources and DLA policies. 

The director also said she’s working with DLA Vice Director Mike Scott and DLA Human Resources Director Brad Bunn to ensure the agency learns from employees’ current work experiences.

“While some have thrived in the telework environment, perhaps others have not. The right dynamic for the future may not be a one-size-fits-all solution,” she said. “We need to explore what we’ve learned from a technology, process and communications perspective.” 

Lessons can also be learned from the experiences of those whose physical presence was required to accomplish the mission. 

“These include our Distribution and Disposition Services workforce, who manage the receipt, issue and storage of material; warehousing and supply chain personnel who work alongside service counterparts at shipyards, maintenance depots and fleet readiness centers; our police, fire and security services personnel who keep us safe at our work centers; and of course, the men and women who are deployed into harm’s way supporting operations around the world,” she said. 

Skubic added that she’s confident DLA employees are up to any challenge.

“In the current times of crisis, we must achieve new levels of performance and customer satisfaction at the flight line, fox hole and deck plate level, and all across our nation,” she said.