News | Dec. 2, 2016

Distribution’s chief of staff receives Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Perry Knight, chief of staff at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution, received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service during DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch’s inaugural town hall at the new Distribution headquarters building Nov. 18.

“Mr. Knight’s superlative ability to balance competing demands – customer service, costs, employee readiness and sustainability – cemented DLA Distribution’s position as the premier provider of distribution services to America’s warfighters,” said Twila Gonzales, Senior Executive Service, Distribution’s deputy commander and Knight’s supervisor.

Knight reduced over six million gross square feet of hazardous material warehousing, with plans to reduce another two million gross square feet by the end of fiscal year 2015, resulting in approximately $100 million in savings per year. He also developed a strategy for consolidation of CONUS-based hazardous material into a single Center of Excellence.

Over the last six years, Knight directed numerous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts, including DLA Distribution’s support to Operation United Assistance in 2014. His contributions to the short-fused mission in West Africa supported the setup of life-saving Ebola treatment facilities in the West African theater. He enabled the movement of critical supplies to the harsh environment and the deployment of 28 DLA Distribution employees to execute the plan he put into motion. Within 90 days, the team set up distribution operations in warehouses located in Liberia and Senegal, created an accountable, manual system to receive, store and issue items and executed over 1,300 truck transportation missions to help set up 15 Ebola treatment units.

Knight provided mission critical support to deployed naval forces, such as heliborne operations from the Rota, Spain, detachment of DLA Distribution Sigonella, Italy, where Distribution moved 78 containers in 63 helicopter missions to meet a restricted ship’s schedule. Another task required DLA Distribution Guam to process 23 Air Force pallets of general cargo for a special assignment airlift mission to Sigonella to resupply the carrier USS Nimitz as it was operating in the Mediterranean.  “Agile, responsive logistics, unconstrained by combatant command boundaries are the norm under Mr. Knight’s leadership,” said Gonzales.

Knight integrated DLA Distribution into combatant command operational plans as well as DLA support plans. “His vision placed distribution planners at the beginning of the deliberate planning process so that the Services could fully leverage the command’s capabilities,” said Gonzales.

Under his leadership, DLA Distribution completed a comprehensive review and revision of the Continuity of Operations plan, adding sections on human resources and Mission Critical Emergency Employees to fulfill Office of Personnel Management requirements as well as those counted in the Federal Continuity Directives. The COOP training and exercise plan was made much more robust with five scheduled exercises for calendar year 2015, and steps were taken to better align our business and IT continuity processes.

Knight, a champion of process excellence, led his team to successfully standardize and reduce costs for warehouse supplies. As a result of his efforts, DLA Distribution saved over $4 million by negotiating a price reduction for pallets; reduced costs associated with packing list envelopes by standardizing envelopes from 17 different National Stock Numbers to three, resulting in exceeding cost-savings estimates of $40,000; standardized fiberboard boxes, which reduced the number of NSN’s ordered by over 40 percent; and standardized general packing tap to six standard NSNs, reducing costs by up to $1 per foot.

Ever aware of technology, Knight created the Distribution Standard System Access Team. Under his leadership, the team succeeded in training and revalidating all DLA Distribution employees that require access to DSS. Despite the many changes and challenges the team faced with system access and cyber security procedures, they were able to train every distribution center on the new DSS Account Management and Provisioning System Roles.  Upon training completion, the users submitted for new roles via AMPS and the DSS Systems Access Team validated every user. The team also implemented a Role Based Access Control System for DSS.

“His astonishing breadth of knowledge of supply and distribution operations, combined with his unique leadership skills, led our network to provide exceptional logistics support,” said Gonzales.  “He has few peers in strategic planning, critical thinking, and logistics expertise; he is constantly sought out for his technical knowledge and leadership development experience. Above all, his demonstrated devotion to our personnel and to our institution makes him a truly indispensable asset to DLA Distribution and to the Defense Logistics Agency.”