An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | Sept. 23, 2022

DLA Land and Maritime, DLA Aviation talk strategy, structure at counterpart visit

By Kristin Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Aviation senior leaders discussed organizational structures and strategies with their DLA Land and Maritime counterparts during a visit to Defense Supply Center Columbus Sept. 19.

DLA Aviation Acquisition Executive Cathy Contreras and seven members of her team met with DLA Land and Maritime Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gail Atkins, Deputy Commander Kenneth Watson, Acquisition Executive Mark Brown and nearly a dozen senior leaders.

As the nation’s combat logistics support agency, DLA manages the end-to-end global defense supply chain – from raw materials to end user disposition – for the five military services, 11 combatant commands, other federal, state and local agencies and partner and allied nations.

Richmond, Virginia-based DLA Aviation is the aviation demand and supply manager for DLA supporting weapon systems, flight safety equipment, maps, consumable hardware, environmental products and industrial plant equipment. Columbus, Ohio-based DLA Land and Maritime is the ground-based and maritime supply chain manager for DLA supporting weapon systems, consumable hardware, small arms parts and fluid-handling systems. Both organizations work together supporting repair parts for overlapping systems.

Atkins opened the session welcoming the Aviation team, stating her background as an Army aviator created “a dear place in my heart for you as a customer.”

The morning briefings included conversations on DLA Land and Maritime’s organizational structure, demand portfolio, integrated supplier team composition, CAGE compromise efforts and performance-based logistics strategies as well as lessons learned from the industrial hardware supply chain transfer completed last year that saw DLA Land and Maritime and DLA Aviation gain roughly 900,000 items.

With increased agency focus on Future of Work strategic efforts, assessing differences and similarities between the organizational structures of the two major subordinate commands was a key part of the day.

“Our business processes are very similar, but our structures are different,” said Chris Davis, director of DLA Aviation’s Strategic Acquisition Programs. “As DLA transforms and looks at the future, it’s important for us to understand each other so we can help shape that by asking how should we be aligned and are we aligned for the future? Could there by a better way to organize our people? Are we aligned to create and manage our work in the most effective and efficient manner so we don’t price ourselves out of work? How do we keep ourselves relevant? That’s what we’re taking a look at.”

Another key topic centered on attracting workforce talent and building employee skillsets for the future. Contreras said her organization identified a training gap with graduating DLA Pathways to Career Excellence interns that led DLA Aviation to stand up centralized on-the-job training last month.

As the post-pandemic retirement wave softens, both sides agreed sustaining a skilled workforce and preparing them for future leadership roles would be critical in an increasingly competitive job market. 

Land and Maritime’s deputy commander summed up the important of open dialogue surrounding concerns facing both MSCs. “We have to be agile – that’s why we’re trading notes,” Watson said.

The general session wrapped up with a strategic overview of DLA Aviation’s portfolio and performance-based logistics efforts. 

After breaking for lunch, DLA Land and Maritime and DLA Aviation counterparts met one-on-one for a series of breakout sessions to conclude the visit.

The one-day trip provided a lot of feedback for both organizations and Atkins encouraged participants to preserve those connections and continue the crossflow information sharing. 

“The dialogue is open, and we’ve got to keep this conversation going,” she said. “It’s the right thing for readiness, the right thing for our customers and the right thing for the business.”