DLA Director talks goals, readiness during visit to Land and Maritime

By Kristin Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Operationalizing warfighter support and mission readiness led discussion during Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s Annual Operating Plan review at the Defense Supply Center Columbus March 29.

DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic, joined by the organization’s senior leadership, briefed DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams on the command’s progress toward meeting key strategic and operational goals.

“He’s given us the vision,” Skubic said. “Warfighter First has always been our battle-cry but it’s even stronger now. We’ve got our marching orders and are now even more focused on decreasing back orders and increasing material availability to further improve our warfighter support capabilities.”

For Williams, it was a return to familiar ground. He commanded DLA Land and Maritime from 2010-2012.

“It’s always a good feeling to come back here,” Williams said. “Part of it is the Land and Maritime mission and the great city of Columbus, Ohio, but it’s also because of the people here. My wife and I always talk so fondly of our time in Columbus.”

The visit also marks Williams’ first since releasing his strategic plan for 2018-2026.

The DLA Land and Maritime strategic roadmap includes seven lines of effort and 20 actionable objectives based on the DLA Director’s strategic goals. These goals include putting the warfighter first, enhancing the nation’s global posture, building strong partnerships, supporting the whole of government, remaining always accountable and supporting people and culture initiatives. The Agency-wide goals support the Defense Department’s priorities to strengthen the nation’s military by building a more lethal force, reinforcing alliances with industry and government partners and reforming business practices.

“Our ability to project what we do at the major subordinate commands into a theater of operations and to our customers deployed around the world is an area that has my focus,” Williams said. “DLA is becoming increasingly global. Our customers are asking for DLA support further and further forward and you’re doing a magnificent job providing it.”

DLA’s Acquisitions Director Matthew Beebe, Human Resources Director Brad Bunn and Logistics Operations Deputy Director Michael Scott joined Williams for the AOP, along with Navy Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt, the Agency’s senior enlisted leader.

After opening comments, DLA Land and Maritime leadership launched into the day’s presentations.

Teams from Maritime Customer Operations and Land Customer Operations presented updates on Warfighter First priorities to support the Department of Defense’s nuclear enterprise, improve readiness of the military services and better predict demand through customer collaboration and integration.

The Maritime team recently hit a historic milestone in support of the nuclear enterprise – achieving 124 consecutive months of material availability of 95 percent or greater to support the nation’s nuclear reactors.

Both teams also briefed on forward stocking initiatives to maintain inventory for the military services’ critical systems across the world.

Following a robust discussion on retail integration initiatives, conversation shifted to forecasting and demand planning.

Congress approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill in late March – with nearly $700 billion earmarked for the DOD. As funds become available to the military services, Williams said he predicts a significant increase in DLA’s workload as the services seek to improve readiness.

“We’ve got to be ready,” Williams said.

Resiliency, People and Culture initiatives rounded out the morning’s discussions. Land and Maritime is the Agency’s only major subordinate command with its own People and Culture Directorate – the result of an organizational realignment in 2015 to bring together culture council activities and the Human Performance division. Briefers highlighted recent culture events and the launch of the Land and Maritime Academy in February.

“This is important because people are at the heart of what we do – and there’s no one that dedicates more resources to people and culture than DLA Land and Maritime,” Williams said.

Following the AOP review, Williams hosted a town hall at the Operations Center Auditorium in front of a standing-room only crowd. He talked about the Agency’s strategic and operational goals and his pride in DLA associates serving across the world. Williams recognized several associates with awards including a team of firefighters who assisted in saving the life of a DLA employee in cardiac arrest. Following the awards, Williams took several questions from the audience. Key areas of interest included the impact of Defense Secretary James Mattis’ business reform mandate, upcoming enterprise-wide initiatives and telework study results.

The day concluded with the DLA Director’s final remarks thanking the Land and Maritime workforce for their efforts in support of the nation.

“You have an unsurpassed reputation,” Williams said. “Every customer I see – whether it’s down in a shipyard or serving overseas – talks about the phenomenal support they’re receiving from us. Warfighter First has always been the primary mission of DLA and there’s certainly no one who does it better.”