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News | Aug. 5, 2016

DLA, USTRANSCOM build joint plan to meet future challenges

By Beth Reece

Senior leaders from the Defense Logistics Agency and U.S. Transportation Command exchanged ideas on how to expand an already strong partnership at the McNamara Headquarters Complex Aug. 3.

“The power of this relationship is something I continue to be astounded by every single day,” USTRANSCOM Commander Air Force Gen. Darren McDew said in opening remarks. The general spent an hour earlier in the day in a DLA 101 brief that he said opened his eyes to numerous changes in DLA operations.

“You’re doing amazing things, and I know we can partner better. You’re further along in so many areas that we can learn from,” he said.

USTRANSCOM’s priorities, rather DLA’s strategic goals, provided a framework for the discussions, but McDew said either would have been fine because both organizations share similar objectives.

“We’re that closely linked,” he said.

DLA-USTRANSCOM Division Chief Air Force Col. Michelle Hall outlined past and continuing work that provides a foundation for the future. Recent successes include humanitarian support to Iraqi and Syrian refugees, as well as creation of the Sustainment Dashboard, an electronic system that monitors the movement of cargo to customers’ locations.

Another key gain is the development of two DLA support teams that are part of USTRANSCOM’s Joint Task Force-Port Opening, an expeditionary capability that can rapidly establish and initially operate a port of debarkation, as well as conduct cargo-handling and movement operations, in support of combatant command-led contingencies. The teams participated in four exercises with USTRANSCOM components this year.

Officials looked for further collaboration opportunities in areas such as cybersecurity and challenges in the cyber domain that could affect multiple parts of the supply chain. The two organizations have and will continue to participate in joint operational preparedness and readiness exercises to mitigate risks. Emphasis is also being placed on lessons learned by industry representatives, such as the National Defense Transportation Association Cybersecurity Committee.

Both organizations are also partnering with geographic combatant commands, the services and other agencies to build 21 sustainment distribution plans by region over the next 18 months. The plans will outline as-is and anticipated conditions in order to support future force postures. Additionally, DLA and USTRANSCOM are encouraging military leaders to take advantage of the existing storage, distribution and transportation network in all new and existing performance-based logistics contracts.

Other topics included lessons learned from exercises; alternate business and operating procedures; and joint development of skills, knowledge and effectiveness for DLA and USTRANSCOM employees.