COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime senior leaders welcomed their DLA Aviation counterparts to Defense Supply Center Columbus Aug. 29 for continued collaboration between the sister organizations.
DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Sean Tyler, Deputy Commander Charlie Lilli and Acquisition Executive Cathy Contreras met with DLA Land and Maritime Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gail Atkins, Deputy Commander Kenneth Watson, Acting Acquisition Executive Doug Nevins and nearly a dozen directors as part of an ongoing effort to synchronize operations.
The gathering marked the third session in about a year. Atkins opened the meeting welcoming the Aviation team.
“This ongoing dialogue defines how we can support each other daily through increased understanding of how each organization does things – to find that shared battle rhythm for the benefit of both.”
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. DLA Aviation, based in Richmond, Virginia, is the aviation demand and supply manager for DLA supporting weapon systems, flight safety equipment, maps, consumable hardware, environmental products and industrial plant equipment. Both organizations work together supporting repair parts for overlapping systems.
The daylong meeting gave the two organizations an opportunity for open conversations about shared challenges and problem solving in real time.
Centralized management of the nuclear reactor supply line was discussed at length. Most of the line is managed by DLA Land and Maritime with a small number of National Item Identification Numbers managed by DLA Aviation.
Atkins stressed that there is nothing that is of a higher priority than this supply line.
The visit also gave both organizations an opportunity for problem solving dialogue on obsolescence management and diminishing manufacturing sources of spare repair parts. Each relayed the challenges they are collectively having in supporting legacy and new weapons systems simultaneously.
Tyler remarked that requirements are moving so fast that in some cases items are obsolete even before they leave the factory floor, and Watson said DLA Land and Maritime has had similar challenges.
All agreed solutions to these issues lie in pursuing increased engagement with the services.
Lilli stressed the need to bring the services into the conversation by engaging with their program management offices to help solve support issues for legacy systems.
Which makes opportunities to have collaborative discussions at DLA Service Days a high priority, Atkins said.
“We also need to get into the root causes beyond obsolescence,” Contreras said noting the need to have visibility of the whole lifecycle of a part whether it was made 50 years ago or 10 minutes ago.
Business modeling and forecasting to improve visibility over supply chains remain a top priority for both organizations. The group agreed that illuminating dark spots using various in-house or external tools to shed light on the lifecycle of a part will improve control.
“We need to identify what is in our control, what we can improve collectively and attack those, while elevating the gaps to higher levels for resolution,” Atkins said.
Advocating for and participating in overall strategy and policy decisions at the highest level will move the needle on these issues and improve overall readiness and bolster supply chain resilience, Tyler said.
Workforce development and human capital issues were discussed at length with ideas from both sides on filling talent management gaps.
Shared training plans and processes were considered to better streamline the pipeline for new acquisition professionals to thrive in their early career journeys by leveraging the DLA Pathways to Career Excellence program and identifying all thresholds to increase visibility of the process.
Toward the end of the day, engineering and technical issues were addressed, with tools and processes shared to improve access to technical data.
“This is great dialogue,” Atkins said. “It’s good to keep these discussions going by continuing these synchronization meetings every six months to continue to work coordinated actions.”
Tyler agreed, “This continued collaboration at different levels is a good opportunity going forward to define how we work together to align our battle rhythms for the long term.”