DLA optimizes installation management

By Dianne Ryder DLA Public Affairs

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In early summer 2018, Defense Logistics Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams rescinded a March 2017 change that separated DLA Installation Management and Installation Operations into distinct entities. The decision to “re-merge” the two offices became effective August 6.

The separation of the director’s staff offices took effect during former DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch’s tenure. DLA Installation Management, then known as DM, would focus on policy, regulations and interaction with the Secretary of Defense, said DLA Chief of Staff Kristin French. Installation Operations, or DF, would focus on oversight of all DLA sites and facilities.

The latter morphed into an overall operations focus, French said. “Which is not just the facility piece, but the operations of how we’re doing our business across the enterprise.” 

Although the first realignment took place before French became chief of staff, she referred to the initiative as a “test” which provided each office their own unique focus areas.

When Williams took over as director, French said he wanted to revisit the rationale behind the organizational change and determine if having two distinct installation staff sections still made sense. He put together a team to research the results.

“I was given a brief shortly after I arrived about some of the positives and negatives of the separation of the offices into two organizations,” French said. “[The team] recommended that the synergies to be gained by merging again were more prevalent than keeping them two separate organizations.”

French and the director’s staff found there were gaps in communication while the offices were separated.

“They weren’t always collaborating, and sometimes a decision was made at the policy level and they hadn’t gotten with people in the installations,” she said. “[We needed] some … cross-functional coordination.”

Though Williams signed the memorandum re-merging the offices on June 1, the decision was made to delay the change until the role of DLA Installation Management Director could be permanently filled.  Gordon “Buzz” Hackett III came from his previous position as deputy commander of DLA Europe & Africa to serve in that capacity.

French said having an installation management lead in place allows that individual to make sure policies and procedures are being executed properly and flowing through the chain of command. 

Though most DLA employees will see a seamless transition, the director’s staff is still working through overall organizational structure realignments, and though the changes don’t “happen overnight,” French said the process has already become more streamlined.

“I can get a briefing and have both parties there, and they can tell me what’s going on instead of working in their own silos,” she said.

Additional guidance from the director’s memorandum states that the change “… represents our commitment to continuous process improvement and takes advantage of the synergy, effectiveness, and efficiency of having one Installation Management organization,” and “The intent is to ensure Installation Management functions are appropriately aligned to provide the most efficient and effective support to the Director, MSC Commanders, and the DLA workforce in support of our Warfighter mission.”

DLA Installation Management’s mission will not change in regard safety coverage; operational technology and control systems; engineers and sustainment; and restoration and modernization programs.