Skubic becomes DLA’s 20th director

By Beth Reece

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The Defense Logistics Agency welcomed Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic back as its 20th director during an assumption of responsibility ceremony at the McNamara Headquarters Complex July 24. 

“I know that she is more than ready to lead and navigate the DLA team to new destinations, through unchartered waters and to new victories,” Jordan Gillis, assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, said before transferring responsibility to Skubic from DLA Vice Director Michael Scott. 

Skubic previously served as commander of DLA Land and Maritime from June 2016 to June 2018 and director of supplier operations at DLA Aviation from August 2008 to August 2011. She also commanded a DLA Support Team in Kuwait that assisted warfighters deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Since June 2018, she’s served as the commander of Naval Supply Systems Command.

“It is truly such an honor to be back at DLA. It does feel like a homecoming,” she said. “You’re inspired every day to find the right solutions to meet the needs of our combatant command, services and our nation, and together we’re going to continue to be a learning organization and to keep up the fight, keep up our passion to find solutions.”

The admiral described the magic of DLA as being threefold. It includes the DLA workforce, its “mastery” of technology and the agility of the Defense Working Capital Fund.

“When it comes to the workforce, I have always felt – I have always known – that the heart of the DLA workforce beats on behalf of the warfighter and this nation. DLA teammates are relentlessly determined to deliver results, whether supporting a fight or a response to a crisis, and we’ve seen both in recent times,” she said.

DLA’s pandemic contributions, which include $1.4 billion in personal protective equipment, ventilators, test components and more, prove employees’ fortitude to continue the mission amid challenges, she added. 

“You have accomplished this while adapting to different methods, locations, conditions that you weren’t used to,” she said. “Some have called that ‘the new normal.’ I call it remarkable.”

Advances in automated procurement, improved forecasting, inventory optimization and the use of digital dashboards to track weapons system readiness are also DLA strengths. She called on employees to continue refining technology and building upon innovations started by previous DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams to drive data-based decisions for resources like people, inventory, infrastructure, time and money.

The DWCF will continue enabling DLA support to warfighters and offers the agency flexibility to maneuver sustainment to the right place and time, even when responding to crisis, she added. 

“We need working capital fund ninjas,” she continued. “We need stewardship, and we need to ask and answer tough questions on how to get it right.”

Skubic said the things that matter most to her as a leader include hard work, respect and integrity. 

“I ask it of you; you may expect it of me,” she said, adding that it is more important now than ever to take care of each other and communicate. 

“Asking thoughtful questions in these trying times has never been more crucial. Our teammates have suffered losses of late – some loved ones, some teammates, economic and social trials, so much more. Let’s keep the communication strong and take care of each other.”

The director also highlighted the agency’s strong culture of inclusion and diversity, saying all employees have a role in eradicating hate and being a beacon of dignity and respect.

“May God bless each and every one of you here, online and across our great agency,” she concluded. “May he bless our troops and civilians, especially those currently deployed in harm’s way. And, of course, may be bless the United States of America.”