DLA Disposition Services hosts its annual Expeditionary Force Leadership Huddle in Battle Creek, Michigan

By Jake Joy

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DLA Disposition Services hosted its annual Expeditionary Force Leadership Huddle at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, Dec. 9-10.

The huddle allows the mostly-Reserve military leadership structure that manages the agency’s Disposition Support Units an opportunity to meet in person and ensure their focus areas and priorities for the fiscal year stay aligned. Sessions involve reviews of the agency’s strategic plan, leadership topics, mobilization and readiness details, military service updates and annual training briefs.

This year, personnel also took a walkthrough of the training facilities DLA has steadily built up at nearby Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. They visited the Training and Operations Simulation Center, where classroom space and a training warehouse allow employees to immediately test new academic concepts in a hands-on setting. They also visited the Expeditionary Support Site, where much of the equipment that deployers train with and will use downrange – like the scalable “site in a box” Expeditionary Site Sets – are housed.

DLA Joint Reserve Force Director Vice Adm. Deborah P. Haven and DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon both attended portions of the huddle and got to hear about the important contributions team members made in the past year and how they expect to augment DLA’s expeditionary capability in 2018.

Joint Team Leader U.S. Navy Capt. Jack May cited team support both domestically and abroad, another complex summer training evolution, and a Chief of Navy Reserve visit with the team in Columbus as some of the ways the Disposal Support Unit team members had kept busy during 2017.

“Another busy year, no other way to describe it,” May said. “We’re doing things other folks have never done. We’re setting the standard on how things can be done.”

DLA Disposition Services sent 48 select reservists downrange during the year, May said, providing the agency with 9,000 days of support. Reserve service members gave the agency another 10,000 man-hours of support in the U.S. and processed over $100 million in DoD property.

“Our folks are saving lives and money every day,” May said.

May departs the agency to end his active duty career with Military Sealift Command, and he welcomed Navy Capt. Katherine Boyce as the incoming joint team leader, saying “I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.”

Boyce said she expects unit members to stay ready and for leaders to mentor their junior troops, be approachable and concentrate on good communication.

Expeditionary Operations Chief Tim Walters briefed leaders on how the teams’ lines of effort would nest into the new agency strategic plan. He said a Joint Reserve Force optimization effort would provide a detailed look at how billets are currently aligned and how they, and team locations, need to be aligned in the future relative to the Network Optimization process that DLA Disposition Services will continue throughout fiscal 2018.

Vickie Rodgers, the deputy of DLA Disposition Services’ Central region, talked about the outstanding support military deployers had provided throughout the Middle East, including in Qatar, where she said “without the [reservists], we would have been nothing out there.”

She highlighted a few material handling equipment mishaps, explained the extra round of training on each piece of equipment that reservists had been receiving when they showed up in Kuwait, and praised the overall quality of the deployers her region had been receiving, saying they were “lovely, fabulous, oh-my-gosh-they-saved-us type of people.”