Army Colonel closes out stellar 27-year career

By Kristin Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Photo of Col. Clarke
Army Col. Juanita Clarke bid farewell to the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime June 30 after a 27-year military career. In her final assignment, she served as the director of the Land Customer Operations Directorate assigned to the Defense Supply Center Columbus.
Photo of Col. Clarke
Col Clarke
Army Col. Juanita Clarke bid farewell to the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime June 30 after a 27-year military career. In her final assignment, she served as the director of the Land Customer Operations Directorate assigned to the Defense Supply Center Columbus.
Photo By: Charles Morris / DSCC
VIRIN: 190722-D-LC637-0807
Army Colonel Juanita Clarke closed out 27 years of military service June 30 as she bid farewell to Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime. In Clarke’s final assignment, she served as the director of DLA Land and Maritime’s Land Customer Operations Directorate leading a team of professionals providing support to more than 18,000 customers.

“Juanita is a proven leader and superstar in this organization," said DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer. "As our Army liaison to customers, she has been phenomenal – her expertise and dedication to the mission are unparalleled and I can’t say enough about her efforts to support our Warfighters. We truly benefited from her intellect and experience as an Army logistics officer, and her commitment contributed greatly to our success as an organization.”

As director, the Chicago native was credited with exemplary performance in providing warfighter support to overseas and stateside units during Operations Freedom’s Sentinel, Atlantic Resolve and Inherent Resolve. In her time at DLA Land and Maritime, Clarke was known for her ability to streamline Department of Defense logistics practices and react swiftly to emerging requirements.

“Colonel Clarke’s ability to think strategically, solve complex problems and prioritize the needs of the Warfighter aided in annual sales of over $6.6 billion dollars for Land customers,” officials stated in a Defense Superior Service Medal award narrative prior to her retirement.

Among Clarke’s many accomplishments, her team achieved a 25 percent reduction in unfilled customer orders and a 35 percent reduction in unfilled customer orders greater than 180 days – the best within DLA Land and Maritime. Her team also assisted DLA Land and Maritime in obtaining 92 percent materiel availability for all critical weapon systems. Clarke was the driving force in expediting, procuring or processing more than 30,000 National Identification Numbers throughout all the major subordinate commands within the DLA enterprise.

Her keen ability to understand and positively influence, identify and document systems and processes resulted in significant improvement in the military services’ requirements determination, demand planning and forecasting, and their buy back percentages in support of the nine Army depots spread across the United States. Clarke led multiple teams to improve data input into the Logistics Modernization Program and Army Supply Plan, reduction of backordered repair parts impacting production lines, and the flawless execution of the Industrial Product-Support Vendor Program in support of the largest depots. Working with other Land and Maritime directorates, Clarke and her team managed the business rules and population of repair parts inducted into the ASP.  Hosting ASP summits from the demand planner to flag officer level, they continually analyzed performance to determine if the program could be expanded and improved upon.  Over the duration of Clarke’s tenure, the number of items inducted into ASP increased by over 50 percent and the service buy-back rate improved over 20 percent – an indication of the confidence the military services gained in the program.

Her tactical and strategic planning decisions resulted in the successful reset/recap and on-time delivery of M1 Abrams, Bradley, Stryker, M109 Paladin, Afghan HMMWV, RG31, Buffalo, Huskey and Patriot fleet assets to the Warfighter. 

Further, Clarke’s direct efforts ensured all nine depots achieved 95-100 percent Performance to Promise rates across the major Army and Marine Corps platforms. 

Clarke’s numerous accomplishments also included an initiative to adjust demand forecasting through intense collaboration and attention to detail for depot programs, saving DLA more than millions in potential over-procurement.

One of the hallmarks of Clarke’s tenure was her approach to leadership. As part of a deliberate effort to improve the culture and training throughout the Land Customer Operations Directorate, she systematically realigned her organization to make certain workload was manageable and distributed equitably, cross-training was performed, associates worked in teams designed to focus on weapon systems and deploying unit readiness, and policies, systems, processes and procedures were understood and enforced.

She also implemented an awards program to ensure associates and supervisors were fairly rewarded and recognized for their daily contributions to the organization and qualified to take advantage of the resources and opportunities available throughout the agency.

These simple, yet effective changes saved hundreds of labor hours and empowered associates and supervisors to execute their duties, while building comradery and esprit de corps.

Clarke’s military career began in 1992 when she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps upon graduating from Chicago State University.

Her first assignment was overseas as a supply platoon leader with the 227th Maintenance Battalions’ 305th Quartermaster Company in Yongsan, Korea. The following year she returned to the states as a supply platoon leader, executive officer and supply and services officer for the 24th Forward Support Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and later as the executive officer for the installation’s 3rd Division Support Command Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

In 1998, she was assigned to the 4th Corps Materiel Management Center at Fort Hood, Texas, as a materiel control officer. The following year she reported to Camp Doha, Kuwait, for a yearlong assignment as the supply and services officer for Army Central Command-Kuwait’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

Clarke’s first command assignment came in 2000 when she took command of the 157th Quartermaster Company at Fort Hood. She was subsequently assigned to Sinai, Egypt, in 2002 as the supply officer for 1st Support Battalion, 1st Corps Support Command, Multinational Force and Observers – an international peacekeeping force tasked with overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. This would be the first of two yearlong assignments Clarke served with the MFO. The second came in 2006 following an assignment with the Columbia Recruiting Battalion based in South Carolina.

In 2007, Clarke was named the evaluation officer for the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command in Alexandria, Virginia, and two years later she would go on to serve as the chief of the Class VII and Distribution Integration Branches for the 1st Theater Sustainment Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Clarke was subsequently assigned to the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Sustainment Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia, as the capabilities developer. In 2012, she became director of the Logistics Training Department at the installation’s U.S. Army Quartermaster School.

In 2013, Clarke was named the outreach officer for the Chief of Staff of the Army and was assigned to the Pentagon. Following that assignment, she returned to Korea to command the 194th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Camp Humphreys.

In her final assignment prior to DLA Land and Maritime, Clarke served as the logistics staff advisor to the commanding general for U.S. Army Japan at Camp Zama, Japan.

Army Col. James Godfrey will succeed Clarke as the director of Land Customer Operations Directorate.