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News | Aug. 26, 2020

DLA town hall highlights agency, employee success amid the pandemic

By Dianne Ryder DLA Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency employees provide critical supplies to military service members and federal agencies, and they should proudly share their success stories, new DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic told employees Aug. 25 during her first town hall.

Skubic said she feels at home at DLA Headquarters having served as commander of DLA Land and Maritime June 2016 to June 2018 and as director of supplier operations at DLA Aviation August 2008 to August 2011.

“My story has included a couple of previous tours with DLA where I have learned some of your stories, some of our accomplishments as an agency and where we make a difference,” she said. “I’ve walked in your shoes; I've been to warehouses, disposition yards, fuel farms and I've been to each of the regional commands at some point.”

The director said she has an appreciation for DLA’s reputation and the solutions agency employees bring to customers.

“Sometimes those solutions are people, reinforcing forces, lines of effort and contracting solutions,” the admiral said. “I have seen those solutions in action in Kuwait and a few trips to Iraq. That's where I saw the full spectrum of DLA's capabilities, portfolio and people.”

The agency has carried on warfighter and humanitarian support missions like forest fires in California and the impending Hurricane Laura in spite of the pandemic, added DLA Logistics Operations Deputy Director Guy Beougher.

“In this COVID environment, the world is not stopping. As we speak, there’s already been one mission assignment for a liaison officer to go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters and another one we think will occur in the next 12 hours or so,” he said, adding that the U.S. Forest Service is facing the largest fire season in California history.

DLA Troop Support has already provided three times more items than during the 2019 fire season, he continued, and terrorist attacks are still happening in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

DLA has also been working with FEMA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Defense Health Agency to provide respirators, ventilators, and personal protective equipment like face shields, surgical masks, gloves, gowns and test kits. Beougher said the need for COVID-19 supplies are expected to continue rising.

Human Resources Director Brad Bunn affirmed that DLA remained open throughout the pandemic with 80 to 85% of the workforce continuing to work via telework or on-site in safe work environments with personal protective equipment. The agency has offered flexible telework schedules to employees caring for school age children and elderly family members, and has developed reconstitution plans to bring employees back to offices when it’s safe and services like mass transit and child care are widely available. Most DLA major subordinate commands remain in phases zero and one.

Bunn also addressed non-pandemic issues like paid parental leave, leave restoration, fitness time reinstatement and the agency’s Culture Climate Survey, which will launch Oct. 9. A separate survey will be sent to employees later this year to gather employees’ input on the effectiveness of telework during the pandemic. The survey will help agency leaders gather lessons learned and determine how to make the best use of telework in the future.

“It's about getting the voice of the workforce and modernizing DLA as an agency going forward; still taking care of the people, still taking care of the mission and warfighter always,” Skubic said. “Think modern workforce; our people modernizing how we do business, where we do business, what tools we need to do business and be effective.”

The town hall is also available on DLA’s Facebook page.