DLA volunteer efforts to account for real property in full swing

By Natalie Skelton DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

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A major volunteer effort has been underway to assess and account for as many as 18,000 real property assets across 550 sites, and Defense Logistics Agency Aviation personnel are playing a crucial role in the process. The first site visits began in May 2018 and are expected to end Sept. 15. The remaining months of 2018 will be used by DLA headquarters to validate the results.

After a financial audit brought the requirement to light, the DLA director decided to establish a real property task force (RPTF) and allocate resources by seeking volunteers from the major subordinate commands including DLA Aviation to conduct inventories of real property.  Kathleen Rowland, deputy chief of staff, DLA Aviation, acted as a force provider for DLA Aviation and coordinated across DLA Aviation for resource support.  The RPTF began with training in April, leading into a complete inventory of all real property assets.

“DLA did not have adequate policies and procedures in place to ensure a complete and accurate listing of real property assets for which DLA is the financial reporting organization, and DLA was not recording similar types of assets consistently,” said David Gibson, site director, DLA Installation Operations Richmond, Virginia and regional director for RPTF Southeast.  Therefore, the RPTF was chartered to execute a worldwide physical inventory to address audit findings and position DLA to successfully maintain real property accountability beginning in fiscal 2019. The task force is conducting final site visits to round out the 550 sites where they have conducted inventories.  Team members are traveling a minimum of one week each month to locations based on their duty stations – the vast majority of DLA Aviation personnel are assigned to the real property task force’s Southeastern region, which includes the Southeastern half of the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. They return to their home station after the physical inventories are complete in order to finish the required paperwork.

The logistics of managing and coordinating volunteer efforts for the Southeast Region is the responsibility of Gibson, along with Jimmy Parrish, Southeast Region task force facilitator, and chief, Environmental Management Division, DLA Installation Operations Richmond.

“My role has been to organize teams; schedule, assign and coordinate all the visits; assist the various teams with such things as acquiring the necessary equipment; help with travel arrangements and theater clearances; provide technical guidance and clarification; interface with the team members’ supervisors, headquarters and the other regions; and provide weekly summation reports on the status of our progress,” said Parrish.

The 34 DLA Aviation volunteers include personnel with job skills in auditing, physical inventory, property management, supply/logistics management and financial management. Karen Claiborne, deputy division chief for the Nuclear Enterprise Acquisition Team, Aviation Commodities Division, Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate, DLA Aviation, served as a team leader for RPTF Southeast Region Team 8. Claiborne said she volunteered for the assignment as an opportunity to develop new skills and build on her existing experience and knowledge.

“My experience in the RPTF program has been enjoyable,” said Claiborne. “Coordination with military services and learning how real property assets are managed and inspected has been educational. I also had a fantastic team, which consisted of team members not only from DLA Aviation but also from other DLA agencies.”

Claiborne’s team visited inventory sites in Florida: Mayport, Blount Island, and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; and several others, successfully inspecting and reporting over 250 assets.

“Taking on a new challenge, meeting different people across DLA’s enterprise, visiting different military sites and supporting the RPTF mission has been fun,” she said. “Having the support of Mr. David Gibson and Mr. James Parrish has been outstanding. It has been a pleasure working for them in support of the real property task force.”

Johnny Pine, supply systems and business process analyst, Business Process Support Directorate, DLA Aviation, served as team lead for RPTF Southeast Region Team 2. Pine said he volunteered because he was ready to try his hand at something new.

“I initially joined as a team member but later found out I had been selected to be a team leader,” Pine said. “Team lead has been one of the biggest challenges for me so far. I have a team comprised of myself and four members, and only one of my team members is located here at Richmond. All our pre-site preparation is done remotely, so coordinating via email and phone has had its challenges.”

Additionally, the different skill sets of the team require advance planning to match each member to the best fitting job.

“Sometimes it can be a madhouse, but then it eventually falls into place and we get the mission completed,” said Pine.

“Having the support of our Southeast Region facilitator [Parrish] and David Gibson has been paramount to our success. They are always asking, ‘What can we do to help you get your job completed?’ They will back us on our decisions and let us do our work,” he said.

“Every day they thank the team for the work we are doing,” Pine added. “I will miss this team and everyone I have had the pleasure of working with on the RPTF.”

Parrish said the importance and scope of the initiative cannot be overstated, and the Aviation volunteers have been integral to its success.

“The Southeast Region contains 72 sites with DLA real property that requires inventory, and the number of assets at each site ranges from one to 165. As a result, the project is not without its challenges,” Parrish said.

“Some of the challenges include balancing the number of teams with the number of sites to be visited, balancing team members’ leave schedules with site visits, being flexible when the military services cancel a visit at the last minute – which has happened several times, “ said Parrish. “We work to keep all of the team members happy and productive, making it interesting for the team members, as well as trying to balance which team is traveling where – for example, not sending the same team to Mississippi every week!”

Jodi Beard, contracting officer, Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate, DLA Aviation, served as a team lead for RPTF Southeast Region Team 6. She supervised a team of four volunteers in the field and took the lead on pre- and post-site functions when they are not traveling.

“This included conducting physical walkthroughs of facilities; inventory and record reconciliations; debriefing of teams and military personnel; and making sure all team members follow the real-property standard operating procedures while conducting inventory counts,” said Beard.

“This task force was an opportunity to take on something new and different, and I wanted to be a part of it just for that,” she said. “Knowing I’ve built new relationships with DLA team members from all over the globe, in itself, has been rewarding. The support of Mr. Gibson and Mr. Parrish has been excellent, and they are a pleasure to work with.

“I’m going to miss working with them and my team, and I will miss the camaraderie and support of all the RPTF team leads, especially those from the Southeast Region,” said Beard.