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News | Sept. 10, 2015

Customer support reps, liaison officers get renewed understanding of DLA mission, priorities

By Beth Reece DLA Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency customer support representatives and liaison officers who work on-site with military customers throughout the United States and overseas gathered at the McNamara Headquarters Complex Sept. 1-2 for the annual CSR and LNO Summit.

The annual event renews attendees’ awareness of the agency’s mission and gives them the opportunity to learn about emerging priorities, said Mike Brletich, deputy division chief for DLA Logistics Operation’s Military Service Support Division.

“It gives them the chance to see how they fit into the overall picture. We also facilitate a lot of intra-agency discussion with DLA Headquarters directorates and the field activities, so it really refreshes their tool kit,” he said.

While CSRs are co-located with service customers such as the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Air Force Materiel Command, LNOs are co-located with combatant commands such as U.S. Central Command.

“They both have a common mission. Collectively, they face the customer. They’re the director’s eyes and ears on the ground,” Brletich added.

DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch recently requested that CSRs and LNOs provide weekly updates on issues they’re currently assisting customers with. Those reports, he told the group during opening remarks, are valuable and help feed his interaction with senior leaders at the services and combatant commands.

Busch also outlined the 2015-2022 Strategic Plan, stressing areas in which CSRs and LNOs can help the agency grow. DLA has already done a “superb job wrestling savings out of the supply chains,” the director said, but tools such as performance-based logistics will become critical as the Defense Department works to achieve Better Buying Power 3.0 initiatives.

“We need to find willing partners that will come to us with an operational requirement that moves us past the traditional focus on supply and depot maintenance metrics. Rather than focusing on how many more engines we can put through depots, we should be working with program offices to improve overall weapon system performance … something like increasing the amount of time an engine can stay on an aircraft before repairs are needed. You guys in the CSR world, particularly, can be helpful in expressing to our customers what PBLs bring to the table,” Busch said.

The summit agenda included an introduction to upcoming changes on DLA’s online Fusion Center, which gives users up-to-date information on items such as stock levels and customer wait-times. A briefing from the Nuclear Enterprise Support Office, which was stood up in January, familiarized the group with DLA’s goal of improving support to land-based heavy bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

DLA Distribution Deputy Commander Twila Gonzales described ways the activity is optimizing resources and processes to help CSRs and LNOs better serve customers. Attendees also heard from DLA Troop Support on how they can help grow the agency’s business by ensuring customers are aware of its multiple product lines, which include food, clothing, medical supplies and industrial hardware. Alternatives such as commercial prime vendors can also help customers save money.

Other topics discussed included DLA’s participation in joint exercises, expansion of logistics support to non-DoD agencies and the Whole of Government Strategy, which aligns the efforts of federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of State and Department of Homeland Security.

Phil Greene, a CSR who supports U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said the summit is a good chance to relay customers’ needs and concerns to DLA leaders. He recommended that the agency look at how the services procure parachutes and whether there are contracting tools that can streamline and improve the process, for example.

For Peter Boone, an LNO for U.S. Central Command who also directly supports customers in Bahrain, the event is an opportunity to learn from the experiences of fellow LNOs and CSRs.

“I expect to get an overall understanding not only with what’s going on in the DLA Logistics Operations community at DLA Headquarters, but to hear the thoughts and ideas that other CSRs and LNOs have brought with them,” he said prior to the event.