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News | Nov. 8, 2016

DLA employees supporting nuclear enterprise receive Air Force training

By Beth Reece

About 30 employees from Defense Logistics Agency Headquarters and its field activities who are involved in supporting the Department of Defense nuclear mission attended the Nuclear Management Executive Course at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Nov. 1-2.

Taught by a mobile training team from the Air Force Nuclear College at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, the Secret-level course is designed for individuals involved in supporting nuclear weapons systems through product support, acquisition, sustainment, logistics, maintenance or operations activities. It offers a broad overview of nuclear weapons issues and creates a standard frame of reference for the workforce. Topics range from nuclear weapons management to stockpile guidance and lifecycle planning.

“A large portion of our portfolio is the Air Force nuclear enterprise, so this is a great opportunity for our employees to discover what all that encompasses. It helps us understand the customer, and there’s a lot of DoD ramifications, as well,” said Kurt Searfoss of the Nuclear Enterprise Support Office.

In January 2015, DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch created the NESO under DLA Logistics Operations to demonstrate the agency’s commitment to supporting the nuclear triad of land-based heavy bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, as well as systems performing National Command and Control functions.

The creation of the NESO was a nod to the “enduring” mission of supporting the critical nuclear mission, Rear Adm. Vince Griffith, director of DLA Operations, told the group in his welcoming remarks.  The admiral thanked the group not only for taking the time to attend the course, but for what they do day-to-day to help this no-fail mission succeed.

DLA has always supported nuclear weapons systems although without the current focused attention, said NESO Deputy Executive Director Terry Simpson. “This course gives those individuals who receive orders, process contracts or buy material a truer understanding of what they’re supporting and gives them an idea of the importance of what they do on a daily basis.”

NESO’s 10-member staff synchronizes nuclear support efforts of DLA Headquarters and field activities such as DLA Land and Maritime, DLA Troop Support and DLA Aviation. The team’s goal is to make DLA an integral part of the services’ overall product support strategy as they modernize their aging nuclear assets and acquire new systems like the B-21 Bomber. Supporting a first-ever programmed depot maintenance for the Minuteman III missile system is an example of DLA’s efforts.

The Nuclear Management Executive Course is the first such training offered to DLA employees. Based on feedback, NESO is already looking to schedule another course next year.  It is also considering offering other training events, Searfoss said.