News | Nov. 21, 2016

Commentary: DLA Regional Commanders shift to touch points for geographic combatant command

By Rear Adm. Vincent Griffith, Director, DLA Logistics Operations

In September, I presided over DLA Pacific’s change of command, in which Navy Capt. Tim Daniels took the reins of that outstanding organization from Army Col. Richard Ellis. The ceremony marked more than one change for that team. As Capt. Daniels accepted the unit colors, he initiated a shift in the way DLA Pacific and our other regional commands work with our partners around the world.

As an agency, we live and work in a dynamic environment. We have to anticipate, assess and meet current and future warfighter requirements. This was evident just a few months ago, when the director saw the need to have our regional commanders act as the DLA touch points for their respective geographic combatant commands. The Command and Control — or C2 — Initiative fundamentally changes the way our regional commands and primary-level field activities interface with our customers.

Instead of dealing with six different points of contact — one for each PLFA — our customers will now look to DLA Central and Special Operations Command, DLA Europe & Africa, and DLA Pacific as the “easy buttons” for DLA support.  One commander will act as the DLA face to customers in each region, backed by the power of nine supply chains and 25,000 employees.

When it comes to customer needs, the regional PLFAs will work through the regional commands, leaning on their broader view of theater priorities. DLA Energy Europe & Africa, DLA Troop Support Central, and all the others will have their support wrapped into a more holistic management of DLA’s business. This helps our customers better understand what DLA can provide them and provides them a more consistent DLA engagement.

What won’t change is the supply chain expertise resident in each PLFA. When it comes to managing those global supply chains, the pipelines that feed, clothe, heal, fuel and repair our warfighters and their equipment, no one is better than the PLFAs. Each will still be responsible for the health of its respective supply chains.

We socialized our C2 initiative with the affected combatant commands, and all are positive about the change.  It better aligns us with the military services’ practices, with a command structure that more closely resembles that of an Army brigade or an Air Force group. It will also ensure our commanders come from their services’ centrally-selected lists.  We’ll have vetted candidates the services identify as their best. That lets us put the right person in the right place, at the right time.

This is all a big change, but it will not substantially impact the way most DLA team members perform their duties. Some positions at the regional PLFAs will be adjusted to better align with responsibilities and scope. Reporting relationships and procedures will naturally evolve to match this new structure. A majority of our workforce will be unaffected, but change isn’t easy, and DLA’s leaders appreciate that. Our intent is to make the necessary personnel adjustments gradually as people move on to new opportunities.

At the end of the day, it’s all being done to support the No. 1 goal in the DLA Strategic Plan: Warfighter First.  This innovation responds to the needs of our most important customers, enabling us to continue delivering the solutions they demand.