An American, French partnership

By Elizabeth Stoeckmann DLA Energy Public Affairs

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Two French fuel officers spent a week with Defense Logistics Agency Energy leaders to discuss experiences and strategic initiatives in support of Warfighter fuel Feb. 11-15.

The two-week officer exchange program occurs annually between the French Le Service des Essences des Armées and DLA Energy. SEA is an inter-service branch of the French Army and is directly responsible for supporting all French forces with fuel including the execution, training and planning for future operations.

“DLA Energy hosts these visits to further expand and enhance our working relationship with SEA and identify potential areas of mutual support in Africa, Eastern Europe and other global areas where the SEA and the Department of Defense operate together,” said DLA Energy Chief of Staff Army Col. Steve Davis.  

The five-day agenda had SEA officers Lt. Col. Edmond Andres and Maj. Cedric David shadowing DLA Energy business units to learn about Energy’s mission, best practices and synchronizing efforts.

The officers’ visit started with a meeting with DLA Energy Acting Commander Guy Beougher where they discussed similarities between the SEA and DLA Energy mission.

“It’s interesting to see the common focus both SEA and DLA Energy have for the Warfighter,” Andres said. “We are also focused on operational energy for our military forces.”

A 24-year veteran in SEA, Andres saw the visit as an opportunity to prepare for the SEA’s commanding general visit to DLA Energy in May.

David, a student with the French War College, spent a week with DLA Energy at the DLA Headquarters, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and will later spend a week with DLA Energy Europe & Africa. The two organizations have exchanged military officers since 2013 to share experiences, best practices and learn from one another.

The partnership with French SEA comes primarily from the engagement with them via the NATO Petroleum Committee, International Fuel Agreements, Central European Pipeline System partner and our senior leader engagements over the years with SEA senior leaders, said DLA Energy Americas East Operations Support Director David Ray.

French SEA is a unique joint fuel organization and one of Energy’s strongest international fuel partners in Europe and Africa, Ray said.

“The most fascinating thing for me this week was understanding the organizational size difference between SEA and DLA Energy,” David said. “The French Army is much smaller and handles everything in the supply chain to the customer.”

SEA is the French Ministry of Defense equivalent to DLA Energy. The agency values the exchange program as an essential contribution in its strategy to build stronger global partnerships.

“It was an honor for the Bulk Petroleum Products team to brief the SEA officers on bulk’s evaluation process, petroleum solicitation offers and the procurement systems we use,” said DLA Energy Bulk Petroleum Products Procurement Analyst Toka Trau-Massey. “The forum provided an opportunity for dialogue that was extremely beneficial to both DLA Energy and SEA. For example, SEA’s current fuel solicitation evaluation process is a manual process compared to DLA Energy’s automated system that finds the lowest laid down cost to the government.”

The French SEA officers provided a capabilities brief to DLA Energy business leaders explaining that SEA is a joint service dedicated to operational support services with a fully integrated fuel supply chain. With just 2,000 personnel, military and civilian, the stand-alone organization is in charge of all Ministry of Armed Forces fuel issues. SEA is located in Paris, France, with 40 SEA petroleum facilities in the region supporting international commitments and operational deployments around the world.

DLA Energy Strategic Initiatives Office Chief Mark Brewer escorted Andres and David on a site visit of the Petroleum and Water Department, Fort Lee, Virginia. They received a briefing by the director of the department and toured the fuels lab and helicopter pad where service members receive advanced individual training in the fields of bulk fuels, petroleum laboratory and water treatment and distribution.

The exchange programs not only enhances the working relationship with SEA, but also has the potential to expand interactions with the entire DoD petroleum community, Brewer explained.

“Feedback from the exchange officers was positive and opportunities have been identified to expand the program for future participants,” he said.