Eisenhower students talk logistics with DLA Distribution leaders, program alumni

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Command Affairs

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Students from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy in Washington, D.C, made their annual visit to DLA Distribution headquarters located in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, March 14, during which the group received an in-depth look at how Distribution executes global logistics, courtesy of Distribution leaders.

The Eisenhower School helps to prepare selected military and civilians for strategic leadership and success in developing national security strategy and in evaluating, marshalling and managing resources in the execution of that strategyThe group regularly visits DLA Distribution to provide students in the supply chain management class an example of distribution operations within the Department of Defense.

The group was led by instructor Bill Bennett, who spent the last 17 years as DLA’s principal liaison to U.S. Central Command, and as Deputy Commander of DLA’s Regional Command for the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

DLA Distribution Commanding Officer Navy Rear Adm. Kevin M. Jones welcomed the group of service and government personnel who were selected to attend The Eisenhower School for the express purpose of thinking in strategic terms and developing the intellectual capital to provide a foundation upon which to extend a career as a strategic leader at the most senior levels of the government.

“I’d just like to commend you for your career accomplishments—because they only pick the best of the best to attend Eisenhower,” Jones said. “We have had many senior officers and civilians in leadership roles within Distribution who are Eisenhower alumni, including our Business Development Director, Joe Faris.”

Jones then turned the floor over to Future Plans Director Scott Rosbaugh who began the discussion describing how DLA’s 24 worldwide distribution centers store and distribute supplies to troops, foreign military allies and intergovernmental partners around the globe.

“We’re constantly reevaluating our global positioning and working with the combatant commands to better understand where we’re needed to support the mission,” said Rosbaugh. “We’re in these parts of the world because it allows us to ramp up operations very rapidly in the event of a conflict.”

“Additionally, if a need would arise in a part of the world where we don’t currently have a presence, we offer a deployable capability which allows us to set up operations anywhere in the world in as little as 72 hours,” he added.  

Next, Faris briefed the group on Distribution’s newest business interest. “As you may have heard, on Jan. 4, 2019, DLA—specifically Distribution—and U.S. Transportation Command were selected as the F-35 Global Transportation and North American Warehousing provider for the program.”

Faris continued, “This has been a five-year journey for Distribution. There are approximately 400 aircrafts produced and in service today. It is estimated there will be approximately 3200 produced over the next 10 years. This is business that will feed DLA for years.”

Future Operations Director Paul Abel addressed the group on Distribution’s modernization plans, which aim to increase productivity and provide greater efficiencies across the entire network.  

Abel explained that modernization is the key to keeping Distribution competitive and relevant in the new world of DOD Reform.

According to Abel, the Eastern Distribution Center modernization effort is “Distribution’s greatest single modernization effort to date since the EDC opened for business more than 20 years ago. These opportunities promise increased efficiencies, reduced costs and improved support to the warfighter.”

Following the discussion, the students toured the Eastern Distribution Center, the largest distribution center within DoD, where they saw the facility’s high-rise storage and retrieval system, air lines of communications pallet build area and the Consolidation and Containerization Point processing area.

Additionally, they visited DLA Disposition Services, located at the Naval Support Activity in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where they were able to experience the distribution pipeline in reverse. Disposition Services disposes of excess property received from the military services. The inventory changes daily and includes thousands of items: from air conditioners to vehicles, clothing to computers and much more.