NAS PATUXENT RIVER, Md. –
It’s time to get things shipshape.
The U.S. Navy has embarked on a multi-year project to take a full inventory of EVERYTHING IT HAS. One can barely fathom how many individual line items that might entail. And essentially, if the service finds it no longer wants or needs an item, DLA Disposition Services will swoop in to help figure out what to do with it next.
Clearing cobwebs from every warehouse, office closet and ship’s void will be a titanic undertaking. It’s not a challenge the armed services are taking on just for fun. Department of Defense leadership continues pushing the military and its support agencies toward completion of their first, full, clean audits. An organization can’t possibly hope to pass an audit without first accounting for all its property – and the service is trying to do that while increasing overall readiness by making its excess materiel available to its entire force.
“There’s much more at stake than just audit advancement, as important as that is,” said DLA Disposition Services Deputy Director, Army Col. Wayne Bondy. “Any agency that does not account for and manage inventory properly, or cross level and dispose of excess property, wastes valuable storage space, personnel time and fiscal resources that can be put to building readiness and lethality.”
The Navy operates well over 100 bases, outposts and installations, some with the population and sprawl of small cities, and hundreds of ships that serve as floating commands. With all that property, spread out literally across the entire planet (and also in space), how do you begin such a mammoth undertaking?
Short answer is you start it at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, a research and testing facility for all things aviation-related, nestled between the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. In operation since 1942, Disposition Services staff and the Defense Logistics Agency have long assisted commands there and throughout the National Capital Region with the removal and disposal of scrap, hazardous waste and excess property. Now, DLA is training installation personnel for what promises to be one of the most unique pilot tests the site has ever tackled.
Staff at the DLA Disposition Services site at nearby Fort Meade have worked in recent months to get Navy personnel at Pax River and throughout the NCR up to speed on how DLA executes a modern disposition effort.
“They are calling it ‘Materiel Clean Sweep,’” said DLA’s Meade site chief Steve Herb. “The goal is to touch everything they have – all bases and buildings, inside and out, corner to corner.”
Herb said Meade and headquarters-based disposition personnel have visited with local Navy officials multiple times since late January for training and coordination and to provide disposal guidance to region personnel. He said the effort at Pax River, and then a follow-on West Coast installation, will inform a disposal playbook that should eventually be followed throughout the Navy’s worldwide footprint. He said officials have indicated they want to conclude the Pax River pilot by the end of the fiscal year. Training and pre-clean sweep assessments are already taking place at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.
“They will document and identify everything they have – book to floor and floor to book,” Herb said. “After that, they’ll decide whether or not to retain equipment, advertise it internally to other Navy units, and then release items to DLA Disposition Services.”
DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon recently said he expects the project to be a multi-year endeavor and the agency director has marked support for it as one of the major tasks on the sub-command’s plate for the coming year. Cannon said the service’s tally of items marked for disposition may end up rivaling or exceeding the Army’s similar effort. He has represented the organization at some recent Navy audit/disposition planning events, and said the service’s senior leadership has indicated that they are pleased with the agency’s support and future plans and are “converts to DLA.”