As a former customer at all levels, especially while deployed, the Defense Logistics Agency director said that DLA Troop Support’s impact reminds him of an old Army cadence.
“Just like ‘everywhere I go, there’s a drill sergeant there,’” Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams said, “everywhere I go, there’s a Troop Support function there.”
Williams, who took charge of DLA June 16, addressed the Troop Support workforce in Philadelphia during a town hall Aug. 2. He hosted the town hall after meeting with each of Troop Support’s five supply chains: Subsistence, Clothing and Textiles, Construction and Equipment, Medical and Industrial Hardware.
He began by recognizing several employees with “Ya Done Good” Certificates of Achievement and talked about graduating from the then-Hampton Institute and Pennsylvania State University. He also showed a calendar on the big screen with the date Aug. 24 circled, when the south Florida native’s Miami Dolphins play the Philadelphia Eagles in preseason football.
The director told the workforce to expect engaged leadership from him.
“I don’t think it matters whether you’re military or whether you’re civilian,” he said. “It’s been my experience throughout my career that engaged leadership does make a difference.”
He also said to expect honesty, integrity and consistency.
“In a leadership position, people want to know if you’re going to be the same person every day,” he said.
Williams said the DLA strategic plan will be refined to account for whole-of-government support, or non-military support, and rapid deployment capabilities. Whole-of-government support accounts for 20 percent of DLA sales.
“Troop Support is a great example of what I mean,” he said. “Every supply chain has some aspect of whole of government … and it continues to grow. So how can I not have it in our strategic plan? I wouldn’t be representing the great work that Troop Support is doing. And I think that’s true across the agency.”
The capability of DLA personnel to deploy for contingencies should also be accounted for in the strategic plan, he said.
“We’re not just supply chain focused anymore,” he said. “That’s always the bulk of what we do. We’re always going to be Warfighter First. At the same time, we can’t stick our heads in the sand and say these other missions don’t exist.”
Williams invited employees to engage their leadership about what they think needs to be looked at in the strategic plan. The revised plan is expected in mid-November.
Williams previously served as the commander of DLA Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio. Before returning to the agency as director, he was the commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command in Fort Lee, Virginia, where he worked with Troop Support Commander Army Col. Mark Simerly the last two years. Simerly took command July 11.
“The military couldn’t have chosen a more perfect person to come here and do this job,” Williams said about Simerly.
The director mentioned several other new leaders in the agency:
Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Johnson, DLA Logistics Operations director
Gretchen Anderson, DLA Finance director
Navy Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt, DLA senior enlisted leader
Brahmsteadt is DLA’s first senior enlisted leader from a service other than the Army.
Williams took questions from the audience at the end of the town hall, including one about the performance of FEDMALL, which replaced DOD EMALL as an online ordering site. He said this was the third site visit where he’s received questions and concerns about FEDMALL, and that he’ll update the agency’s workforce about milestones to get it fixed.