DLA Troop Support gives first-hand lesson on supply chains to Air Force Air Mobility students

By Nancy Benecki DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Students and academic leaders from the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Operations School visited the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support in Philadelphia Aug. 26 for an overview of the agency’s services and to learn about its mission.

Retired Air Force Col. Chuck Nesemeier, the dean of academic affairs at the USAF Expeditionary Operations School, Air Force Col. Adam Reiman, Air Force Institute of Technology associate dean and supply chain management instructor, and 16 EOS students from the Advanced Study of Air Mobility program met with each of the agency’s five supply chains and toured the flag room during their visit.

Patrick Owens, deputy director of J3/5 Operations and Plans at DLA Troop Support, welcomed the group to DLA Troop Support and talked about the uniqueness and longevity of the workforce in Philadelphia.

“This workforce is a lot different than the kind of workforces you’d see in Washington, D.C., where people jump federal agencies at the drop of a hat,” Owens said. He added that many employees have worked here their whole careers, retiring after 35 to 40 years of service.

Diana Stewart, acting director of the Command Support Office and director of Strategic Communications, presented an overview of each of DLA’s supply chains.

“I hope that you get out of this overview...that we buy a lot of different items,” Stewart said. “How you’re going to buy a heavy piece of equipment, like a forklift, is going to be very different than how you buy a consumable medical item. What I believe the workforce here brings is that knowledge of the supplier base so that we really know what we have [to buy and stock].”

The students are working on their graduate degrees in operations management with a focus on logistics, Nesemeier said.

“The course they’re taking right now is supply chain management, so where better to go to than DLA to get the Department of Defense side?” he said.

Site visits are a vital part of their program, which also includes visiting private sector companies such as Amazon and UPS, Nesemeier said.

Air Force Maj. Giovanna Espegio, one of the students touring DLA Troop Support, said she was impressed by the agency’s scope.

“Up until this point in our careers, we’ve been focused mainly on the tactical aspects of air mobility,” she said. Prior to joining the program, Espegio’s career focus was on being a C-17 pilot. 

“Now with a visit to the Defense Logistics Agency, it really helped me understand the larger picture of the different supply chains from a strategic point of view,” she added.

The USAF Expeditionary Operations School develops and delivers expeditionary training and education for the Air Force. The school is housed at the USAF Expeditionary Center at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and its mission is to train and educate Airmen for a broad spectrum of expeditionary operations.

The 16 Air Force majors who toured DLA Troop Support are part of an elite 13-month professional development program designed specifically for mobility officers, according to the Air Force Air Mobility Command website. Throughout their program, they study logistics, transportation, supply, mobility and other areas such as business process improvement, statistics and research methods in the military and commercial business worlds.