Joint Petroleum Seminar focuses on relationships, future leaders

By Ron Inman, DLA Energy Public Affairs Defense Logistics Agency Energy

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Growing the next generation of joint petroleum leaders was the theme of the 16th Joint Petroleum Seminar at the McNamara Headquarters Complex at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Jan. 23-25.

Defense Logistics Agency Energy hosted the annual three-day unclassified seminar that brings together senior non-commissioned officers, warrant officers, mid-grade officers and civilian equivalents from across the community and expose them to high-level briefings, discussions and system demonstrations designed to expand their knowledge in the joint petroleum arena.  

DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Martin Chapin spoke of the important opportunity for face-to-face communication and relationship building that the seminar provides.

“I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to meet, to network and get to know, or know better, the people in this room that you work with, or will work with,” Chapin said. “There is a unique and distinct culture associated with fuels and energy. This seminar is an opportunity to get together and tackle challenges that are in front of us.”

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Oliver Fritz was the guest speaker and spoke on risk assessment and challenges associated with operational energy.

Seminar organizer Doug Thomas with DLA Energy’s Strategic Policy & Programs directorate explained how important the annual event is to train and support DLA Energy’s service collaborates with bulk fuels.

“This is an opportunity to educate military and civilian petroleum officers at the strategic level to work in the joint petroleum world,” said Thomas. “Seminar topics included the Inventory Management Plan with an emphasis on requirements generation, Integrated Consumable Information System Direct Delivery, military construction, Infrastructure Optimization/Capitalization, environmental programs and briefs by stakeholder agencies and service representatives.”

More than 100 petroleum leaders joined this year’s seminar, including 44 first-time attendees. Representatives included combatant commands, DLA Energy regional commands and service control point partners.

“By having new people attend, we are getting the word out to our supply chain partners,” Thomas said.

DLA Energy Americas Commander Army Col. Craig Simonsgaard presented an overview of DLA Energy Americas and offered what he valued most about the seminar.

“Being able to meet in person the people that we deal with from around the world and don’t normally get to see,” he said. “We have talented people that are working very hard to make sure the Joint Force never runs out of bulk fuel, and I’m confident in their ability to make that happen.”

Simonsgaard said he supports Northern and Southern Command fuel requirements to support the Warfighter.

“DLA Energy has, by far, the most petroleum expertise within DoD,” Simonsgaard said. “We have a lot that we can give to the combatant commands, the components and the services … experience and expertise to help them with their planning and the execution of their supply chain. I intend to continue our work with NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM to ensure that they don’t just know we are there to support them, but we are actively helping to solve their logistics challenges in the bulk fuel world.”

A combatant command joint petroleum officer (seminar attendee) wrote in his course evaluation how important it was to meet and learn from petroleum senior leaders who spoke at the conference.

“The face-to-face (engagement) is worth the travel costs,” he wrote. “Attending this venue will save time, effort and money and be more efficient in my planning abilities at my command.”