DLA Distribution and Whole of Government – Support to the Nation and its Interagency Partners

By Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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The Defense Logistics Agency began focused support to non-Department of Defense customers in 2012 and later identified it as a line of effort under the whole of government portion of DLA’s Strategic Plan 2018-2026.

“The whole of government is an approach which involves the integration of U.S. government efforts to harness the strength of all interagency partners to solve common problems,” stated Stephen Dubernas, chief, DLA Whole of Government Division. 

According to Dubernas, DLA acknowledged the power that interagency partners bring to support those common problems and has identified WOG approaches in its strategic goal to support the warfighter and the nation. 

“DLA’s global network and expertise in supply chain management can improve efficiency and increase effectiveness of the DLA whole of government partners. Collaboration ensures a healthy, viable base of suppliers able to surge when needed,” said Dubernas, “Working alongside whole of government partners in domestic and international operations, DoD and DLA strengthen their ability to serve national interests.”

Nested inside DLA’s Strategic Plan and under lines of effort are WOG’s three objectives, to which DLA Distribution lends support as needed, and can be found on DLA’s website at https://www.dla.mil/Info/strategicplan/LinesOfEffort/#WholeOfGovernment:

Objective 4.1: Crisis Response: Strengthen the crisis-response and contingency operations of our Whole of Government partners. DLA team members plan, organize and train to mutually support swift interagency response by proactively engaging with federal, state and local organizations. Drawing on our extensive supply chain partnerships, we develop processes, actions and policies that enable agile, rapid responses. 

Objective 4.2: Provider of Choice: Extend DLA capabilities to support daily operations of other Government partners. While providing uninterrupted support to the Warfighter, DLA must provide comprehensive and transparent assessments of Whole of Government requirements, consistent with business reforms. We will offer our collective expertise, focusing on supply chains and services where DLA offers a unique advantage. Drawing upon our global network of personnel, technology infrastructure and service, DLA will earn their trust as a reliable partner. 

Objective 4.3: Offer Value: Support interagency and DoD reform initiatives. DLA’s core competencies can offer the most cost-effective, efficient solutions to our Whole of Government partners. Some agencies offer similar advantages to DLA. We will assess other agencies’ solutions for their value to the government and adopt solutions that do not hinder DLA’s Warfighter support. We will actively participate in federal initiatives to eliminate duplication, capitalize on economies of scale and free up resources for higher priorities. 

“DLA provides logistics support for crisis response, and is beginning to serve more than just defense agencies,” said Dubernas, adding, “The mission of the Whole of Government Division is to support the nation and our inter-agency partners with supply chain solutions when the nation needs it most.”

DLA fits into the Whole of Government approach as a key service provider of warehousing, container consolidation, shipping, receipting and stowing of materiel on behalf of over 40 federal partners and 25 International Partners—Foreign Military Sales.

“As a defense agency, we have 26 thousand employees. We support the warfighter every day, but we also have capacity in place so when our nation goes into duress or an agency partner needs support, or even an international partner needs support, DLA is viewed as a national asset. We can provide our supply chain capabilities to our inter-agency partners just as we would our war-fighters,” said Dubernas.

For example, in 2017 some areas of the nation were severely impacted during hurricane season, so DLA, beyond supporting our warfighter mission, supported the Federal Emergency Management Agency in responding to those hurricanes. 

DLA Distribution aided in that support.

“DLA Distribution staffed and managed four FEMA Incident Support Base locations during 2017 for hurricane support, and two FEMA ISB locations during 2018. The coordination for that support flows through DLA headquarters’ Agency Synchronization Operations Center—ASOC,” said Jared Crain, chief programs project management division, DLA Distribution Logistics Operations Center.  

“In 2017 our ISB’s received, stored, shipped and maintained accountability of 3,474 trailers of hurricane relief supplies. The total dollar value of support provided exceeded $3.7 million, with main commodities shipped in support of hurricane relief efforts (meals and water) totaling over 62 million items. For 2018, Fort AP Hill ISB and Maxwell ISB received, stored, shipped and maintained accountability of 1,159 trailers of hurricane relief supplies consisting of 8.46 million liters of water and 8.73 million meals as well as other commodities such as tarps, sheeting, cots, blankets, hygiene kits and generators needed in the disaster areas,” said Crain.

DLA Distribution is an agile, innovative, adaptive organization supporting DoD and Whole of Government customers around the globe in peace, war and natural disaster.  

“We can, and do rapidly respond to changing DoD and Whole of Government demands,” said Crain, continuing, “Our men and women provide exceptional performance whether they are supporting a combatant commander or providing class IX support for the U.S. Fire Services fighting wildfires in the west, or supporting our partners at FEMA with ISB support.”