Agency and Marine Corps partner to move an “iron mountain”

By Tim Hoyle, DLA Disposition Services & Rodney Bearman, Marine Corps Logistics Command DLA Disposition Services

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Changing operational needs means keeping up with the latest equipment and getting rid of what’s obsolete and unserviceable, and Marines have been working hard with the Defense Logistics Agency to do so over the past 18 months.

According to Major Daniel H. Whitt, Marine Force Storage Command, Marine Corps Logistics Command, reshaping the force has led to a tremendous amount of equipment collected throughout the Marine Corps, an accumulation he describes as an "iron mountain."

“After the reset of equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan, we had equipment piled up everywhere aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael E. Longoria, 2ND Marine Force Storage Battalion, Marine Force Storage Command.

Whitt said dealing with the piles of excess items involves the Corps’ Fiscal Year 19 Equipment Optimization Plan, which was designed to right-size and rebalance the force equipment posture. He said that supporting the plan is one of the command’s intuitional initiatives and described it as a significant effort that requires planning outside of normal or routine business processes.  Mike Cannon, DLA Disposition Services director, considers his workforce part of that process and “full partners” with the military forces they are helping divest themselves of excess material. Cannon said getting involved with planning at the very beginning has allowed DLA Disposition Services to better support each service’s divestiture efforts.

“The Marine Corps is in the first phase of its plan, which involves optimizing the equipment posture of more than three hundred types of military equipment that include computers, vehicles, trailers, material handling equipment, office equipment, tents, generators, pumps, environmental control units, most any piece of non-hazardous equipment,” Whitt said. “Making the best use of the best equipment, before divesting of serviceable assets, involves exchanging them with the unserviceable assets of operational forces.”

Michael Kelly, a DLA Disposition Services area manager, said the partnership has offered up some great success stories for the reutilization program with other services as well as Marine units.

“At the beginning of June we received documentation on 18 full-tracked armored combat earthmover’s, each valued at $887,000,” Kelly said. “As soon as these assets were placed on the account, our onsite disposal service representative at Albany worked to inquire if any of our customers or ranges needed them. We quickly learned that all 18 had been requisitioned.”

Kelly added that eight of the earthmovers stayed within the Corps by going to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, while the other 10 were sent to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada.  He said it was another success story from the combined Marine Corps and DLA efforts, which allowed property originally purchased for $16 million to keep contributing to training and readiness. Kelly called it one of the largest single transactions DLA Disposition Services has seen throughout the divestment.

Longoria recalls that over the two years since he has been stationed at Albany, he and his fellow Marines, augmented from the Marine Forces Reserve, have disposed of more than 230 53-foot trailers of obsolete equipment.  “DLA has worked with us every step of the way,” he exclaimed.

One of the ways DLA Disposition Services does that is to help reduce the time needed to turn-in equipment.

 “We now complete our transition of equipment from the Marine Corps’ inventory to DLA for disposition in about three days,” Longoria said. “We have shipped thousands of pieces of unserviceable and obsolete equipment, and it is making a difference.”

Longoria said the difference shows in many of the warehouses and storage lots that have been reorganized and cleaned up. Through the EOP strategy of equipment exchange, foreign military sales, and items turned in to DLA Disposition Services, Whitt said Marine Corps Logistics Command will divest or redistribute more than 109,000 pieces of material equipment, plus an additional 62,000 pieces of operating materials and supplies before the end of fiscal 2020.

This strategy includes the Corps’ Temporary Storage Project Divestment initiative to divest of more than 150,000 archived or outdated pieces and parts. Kelly said that as of Aug. 13, his team had processed receipts for 224 items and 771,602 other items under the divestiture effort.

“With DLA Disposition Services we can divest almost anything from computers to rolling stock,” Longoria said.