NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
The Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Expeditionary team conducted a live training exercise, the first since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, from July 18 to July 29. The exercise took place at Fort Custer, Augusta, Michigan, and in conjunction with DLA Disposition Services.
“This exercise was an opportunity to provide the DDXX teams an opportunity to work through the required tasks to deploy, establish and operate an expeditionary distribution site in response to a contingency,” said Jim Howard, joint exercise planning branch DLA Distribution.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic mitigation efforts placing constraints on overseas deployments and national response support, the DDXX team was unable to conduct live, in person training exercises since March 2020. This opportunity to conduct training brought teams together from DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, and DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California, to hone their skills in a working field environment.
“There was training value across the board,” said Howard. “There was training for the planners as well, from initial concept and design, through execution and assessment; with room to improve in all areas.”
Site surveys had to be conducted prior to arrival. Travel had to be arranged for everyone. Material and equipment had to be moved. And every step had to be done with safety and accountability as priorities.
For COREX-22, the planners were faced with the task of finding material to use for the purpose of processing and moving, but to make it cost effective, efficient and no impact to DLA Distribution customers. Any training exercise, just like daily operations, should be invisible to the end customer with no impact to readiness or effectiveness.
The solution came in working with DLA Disposition Services. DDXX was able to use material that was already set to be delivered to DLA Disposition Services but route it through the COREX-22 DDXX site, acting as a theater consolidation and shipping point. In this way, DLA Disposition Services simulated being the warfighter abroad, or whole of government partner that DDXX would normally serve.
In a true overseas expeditionary mission, DDXX would expect to serve multiple US military services and forward based warfighters. For this exercise, the support was limited, however, DDXX also simulated material processing center operations as they train to tailor their expeditionary support to serve multiple customers and meet each of their unique needs.
In testament to the ability of the DDXX team to rapidly process and move material, Navy Rear Adm. Grafton Chase, commander of DLA Distribution, was onsite observing the process. By day four of operations, the DDXX team had established a highly efficient workflow, leaving only limited multipack shipments to process as a demonstration.
The DDXX team consisted of 17 personnel from DDSP and 17 from DDJC, coming together from opposite coasts, to establish a presence and begin the task of receiving, processing and moving material. The teams were able to exchange different methods and tactics used to accomplish the mission as well as develop the unity necessary for a successful deployment.