KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany –
Moving materials to military customers throughout Africa has long been a logistical challenge. After a Defense Logistics Agency supervisor weighed the risks, she encouraged her team to send a test container of Meals, Ready to Eat and bottled water through a new route.
The container shipped from Germany to Tunisia proved to be a success. That type of innovative effort earned Miriam Tannenbaum the 2019 DLA Troop Support Innovation Award.
Tannenbaum helps oversee the delivery of food, water, construction items and more to military customers throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East as a customer support division chief with DLA Troop Support Europe & Africa.
Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence, DLA Troop Support commander, announced her award during a ceremony in January in Philadelphia. Tannenbaum works at a forward site with the DLA Troop Support Europe & Africa team in Kaiserslautern, Germany, close to the warfighters they support throughout the region.
The impact of her innovative efforts are not only seen in exploring new ways to move food and water in Africa, but also in DLA’s expanded support of Navy ships in the Red Sea and in working to reduce military food waste in Poland.
“As logisticians, we innovate to solve problems and to improve our support to the warfighter,” Tannenbaum said.
Her innovative mindset goes back to when she was an Army captain at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, where she helped develop a concept for a joint maintenance facility capability afloat.
She’s also incorporated commercial practices to reduce waste while working with DLA Disposition Services in Korea by selling scrap wood and cardboard. Her “zero landfill” initiative helped minimize the U.S. military’s waste footprint there.
Tannenbaum also encourages her team to find innovative ways to improve support to the warfighter. Curtis Palmer, a customer support team lead, is working on a research and development project to modernize a receipt process so that customers, vendors and DLA know immediately when items have been delivered.
“She instills the innovative mindset throughout our division by giving the motivation and direction, as well as the freedom to leave this organization in better shape,” Palmer said.
Tannenbaum said her team embraces the challenge to find logistical solutions.
“We have a lot of talented and smart people,” she said. “And it would be a shame to not take advantage of every bit of that talent to think outside the box and look at all the tools available to solve problems.”