Cost summit continues pursuit of financial transparency

By Dianne Ryder

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In an ongoing effort to facilitate discussion of financial issues with its customers, Defense Logistics Agency Finance and Logistics Operations leaders hosted their quarterly cost summit at the McNamara Headquarters Complex on Nov. 7.

The meeting was co-chaired by DLA Finance Director Tony Poleo and Mike Scott, deputy director of DLA Logistics Operations. Attendees included leaders from all the military services, the Office of Secretary of Defense, U.S. Transportation Command, DLA’s primary level field activities and other DLA headquarters employees. Officials from the U.S. Government Accountability Office also participated for the first time in an observer role.

The seventh of these meetings saw discussion of recurring topics such as transportation costs, performance based logistics, audit readiness and market basket approach, which aligns customer rates with level of effort. But attendees also provided input as to what they wanted to discuss.

Scott said it was important to field requests from the military services.

“This isn’t just about what information we want to present – we want to hear what our customers want to talk about and build the cost summits on their interest areas,” he said.

Poleo echoed the original criticality of the meetings to opening lines of communication between DLA and its customers.

“We weren’t trying to hide anything from our customers,” he said. “We decided to just get it out there in our cost summits.” 

This summit featured briefing topics outside the norm, such as the Defense Logistics Management System, customer-facing initiatives and an overview of DLA’s Nuclear Enterprise Support Office program. 

Col. Steve Petters, NESO’s deputy director provided an overview of DLA’s support to the nuclear enterprise, to include logistics themes found in various reports which formed the basis for the NESO lines of effort. 

"We've implemented four lines of effort that will ensure DLA provides world-class support to our nuclear enterprise customers," Petters said.

 

Mike Cannon, DLA Disposition Services director provided an overview of the benefits the military services derive from his organization’s reutilization and disposal services.

“For their service level bill, they get about a tenfold return in reutilization,” he said. “They get assets that were turned in by another service or by someone else in their service back from us for free ... and that’s in addition to performing normal scrap receipts and removing excess and hazardous waste and managing recyclables.”

Cannon said much of the equipment the services get is new or just slightly used.

Even considering depreciation of the assets, “we’re still a bargain,” Cannon said.

Both Scott and Poleo promised to continue the commitment toward financial transparency as they thanked everyone for their support. 

“I was a skeptic when these [cost summits] began, but now, I’m a disciple,” Poleo said. “We’ll just keep sharing.”