DLA Distribution Expeditionary Team and Capability Based Volunteers deploy to support Strategic Materials inventory mission

By Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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In early August, Defense Logistics Agency’s headquarters acquisition team requested DLA Distribution’s assistance with support in executing an end of year inventory of strategic materials stored at the DLA Strategic Materials warehouses in Scotia, New York, and Hammond, Indiana. In line with DLA’s “Always Accountable” strategic goal, the inventory must be accurate to ensure DOD’s financial statements reflect the actual organizational expenses.

The strategic materials mission was time critical and DLA Distribution Operations Program and Project Manager, Mark Emery, began working immediately to find personnel. “We look at our assets to see who can best fill that request. Sometimes those requirements are time sensitive so we need people who can deploy immediately. We spun up the DLA Distribution Expeditionary team and deployed them to Scotia, New York, and Hammond, Indiana, in two separate teams.”

While the DDXX team typically deploys to support military contingencies and humanitarian assistance projects, they also deploy for urgent mission requirements. Emery knew that DDXX would probably be needed for hurricane assistance so he reached out to DLA Distribution Workforce Planning and Development requesting volunteers.

DLA Distribution Expeditionary Team and Civilian Based Volunteers deploy to support Strategic Materials inventory mission
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Expeditionary team members and Distribution capability based volunteers deployed to Scotia, New York, to support DLA Acquisition’s strategic materials inventory mission. Photo provided by DLA Distribution Process Worker Supervisor, John Maine.
DLA Distribution Expeditionary Team and Civilian Based Volunteers deploy to support Strategic Materials inventory mission
DLA Distribution Expeditionary Team and Civilian Based Volunteers deploy to support Strategic Materials inventory mission
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Expeditionary team members and Distribution capability based volunteers deployed to Scotia, New York, to support DLA Acquisition’s strategic materials inventory mission. Photo provided by DLA Distribution Process Worker Supervisor, John Maine.
Photo By: John Maine
VIRIN: 201002-D-D0441-0001

“We needed civilian based volunteers to backfill the DDXX positions, because those team members will need to redeploy back to Susquehanna in case we need them for other short-term deployment or contingencies,” said Emery.

In response to DLA’s request, DLA Distribution reached out to the over 200 capability based volunteers who make up the DLA Distribution civilian expeditionary workforce. The volunteers are current Distribution employees who are trained and ready to mobilize quickly for mission, contingency and humanitarian support. In all, DLA Distribution deployed 10 CBVs and DDXX employees to Scotia and eight CBVs and DDXX to Hammond, working 12 hour shifts, five days per week with an additional eight hours Saturday.

DLA Distribution provided forklift operators to take material from location to a scale to be weighed and measured, supervised the team and assisted as required. DLA Acquisition Strategic Material was responsible for evidential matter, inventory schedule and item selection.

Stephanie Turner and John Maine, DLA Distribution process worker supervisors, deployed to the Scotia location. Turner went first, then redeployed and Maine followed up.

“We’re (Turner and Maine) both new supervisors, and that was my first deployment with the team. I was really impressed with the way they came together and worked together so well,” said Turner.

Maine agreed, “They make our job easier. The success was a team effort with the CBV and DDXX team members – those guys made the mission happen. From my point of view the credit goes to them.”

DLA Strategic Materials currently stores 42 commodities in the National Defense Stockpile. The commodities are stored at six locations throughout the U.S. and have a current market value of approximately $895 million. Commodities range from base metals such as zinc, cobalt, chromium and manganese, to the more precious metals such as iridium and platinum. The inventory requirement mission focused on tin at Hammond and zinc at Scotia.

Gary Porter, director of material management, DLA Strategic Materials, said DLA Distribution’s support exceeded all expectations and was able to greatly improve the percentage/metric before the end of this fiscal year. With “materials moving so fast it was hard to keep up on the paperwork and planning side of what was next.”

The goal we were given in late August was to get as much dollar amount of inventory completed before the end of the fiscal year. With the team’s help, we ended the year with 70% coverage and we’re now on track for 100% completion of Phase I inventory sample by November. We could not have accomplished this huge weighing project without the teams support,” said Porter.