NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
This month marks the 25th Anniversary of Defense Logistics Agency Distribution, a major subordinate command of DLA.
Originally named Defense Distribution Center, DDC was officially stood up on October 1, 1997, in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania after a lengthy study of potential locations for the consolidated Defense Distribution Center headquarters.
The first DDC commander, Major General (then Brigadier General) Kenneth L. Privratsky, USA, retired, reported for duty on Oct. 1, 1997. His mission was to create a single agency that could provide world-class distribution for the nation’s Warfighters.
MG Privratsky was a great choice to lead the agency through a pivotal time in our history. He was a tested combat logistician, serving as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam and continuing on to command units at all levels. Following Desert Shield/Desert Storm, he worked with the Pentagon to strengthen the Army’s strategic mobility program. In February 1996, he became Commander of DLA Defense Distribution Region East, before taking the reins at DDC the following year.
At that time, there were 22 distribution depots in CONUS and Europe. With the organization’s new name established, MG Privratsky went to work to revolutionize operations and customer service with a “Raising the Bar” initiative that set a new standard – same day service – for requisitions and procurement processing making DDC competitive with best business practices. His initiative reduced distribution center processing times by as much as 63 percent.
His dedicated truck initiative had a similar effect. By guaranteeing regular, time-definite deliveries, the services were able to reduce authorized stockage levels and yield a savings to the taxpayer. His close interaction with the Army led to improved customer support. Response and delivery times declined from seven days to just under two days, producing satisfied customers and improving readiness throughout the Army. Specifically, Central Receiving at Fort Hood, Texas, received a “one freight, all freight” daily dedicated truck from DDSP in just two days. This supply pipeline reduction netted the Army a one-time savings of $28 million for both material and repair costs.
In another success story, the 101st Airborne Division reduced their authorized stockage level from $19.3 million to $9.4 million because of the time-definite deliveries. Similar partnerships with the Air Force and Navy began to address and resolve distribution issues with comparable savings potential.
Privratsky led the agency through a process of improving storage practices and policies, reviewing inactive stock, and repositioning stock. These actions freed up buildings at many sites and enabled their return to their hosts. In total, DDC achieved a 30 percent reduction in infrastructure in just 2.5 years. His impact on DLA was incredible, his leadership exceptional, and his strategic vision was extraordinary.
In MG Privratsky’s final military assignment, he was responsible for surface transportation and military ocean terminal operations for Department of Defense worldwide. He retired from the Army in 2002 and now lives in Alaska where he is an established author and lecturer.
He has been awarded the highest service decorations from Department of Defense and the U.S. Army and received personal recognition from the Vice President of the United States for his revolutionary changes to defense distribution operations. He was inducted into the Defense Logistics Agency Hall of Fame in 2004.
I’m proud to be affiliated with an agency whose first commander was such an outstanding “revolutionary” Warfighter. Total dedication to process improvement, insistence upon excellence, and commitment to customer service and fiscal responsibility were the hallmarks of his leadership. The significant business process improvements that occurred under his leadership, as well as the increased forward presence of the agency laid the foundation for who we are today.
On this, our Silver Anniversary, I hope you are feeling pride at all the ways DLA Distribution has supported our Warfighters and our nation over the years.
Throughout the next year, we’ll celebrate this milestone with different events, continue to highlight the many successes this great organization has accomplished, showcase our teammates and share with all of you via video, social media and more. You may even see some of the many strategic visionary leaders from the past making their way back to New Cumberland for a visit.
Mr. Knight and I would like to wish you all a Happy 25th Anniversary and thank you, DLA Distribution, for all you do each and every day for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardians who are deployed all over the world ensuring our freedom.