DLA rapid deployment teams ready to provide emergency logistics support

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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Three Defense Logistics Agency Rapid Deployment Teams stand ready to help military and federal agencies supporting global emergencies like humanitarian assistance and pandemic response. Employees on the cross-functional, 13-member red, white and blue teams are trained to immediately deploy wherever they’re needed.

The blue team deployed late February to support U.S. Army North as it determined requirements for medical and logistics units supporting the COVID-19 response. The red team is also on alert to provide additional support if requested, said Red Team Operations Officer Taylor Frazier III. Though it doesn’t seem likely his team will deploy in support of current efforts, members are working to ensure they have medical clearances, personal protective equipment and travel documentation ready.

“This is really a first for the RDT and probably a first pandemic response for the federal government since 1918 [influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 virus],” Frazier said. “We have to relook all of our assumptions about deploying and integrating with our customers.”

Upon activating, team members immediately connect with the lead logistics and supply element on-site, he added.

“Once engaged, our first goal is to identify any requirements that DLA may be able to provide, and any challenges and impediments that may need to be addressed,” Frazier continued. “We may start brainstorming solutions together with the DLA Agency Synchronization Operations Center and the major subordinate commands, primarily DLA Energy and DLA Troop Support.”

Locations, impact and local preparedness levels differ by incident, he said, adding that RDTs tailored their response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017.

As with all RDTs, red team members come from across DLA with various full-time duties. Frazier is a chief in DLA Aviation’s Engineering and Support Division. Air Force Col. James Wilkie, red team commander, is DLA Acquisition chief of staff, while the team’s deputy, Ron Joseph, is a DLA Human Resources advisor. Both work at DLA Headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The team’s two DLA Information Operations members support DLA expeditionary teams as their regular job, while the remaining members perform duties similar to their RDT roles at their respective major subordinate command.

Red team members haven’t deployed together, but Frazier said most have deployment experience and half serve on other DLA support teams. The group is ready to provide support in response to the 2020 hurricane season, which begins June 1.

“While we don’t hope to be called on, we do hope if there is a need, we will be asked to deliver on behalf of DLA,” he said.