News | Jan. 14, 2021

New rotation program gives DLA Troop Support workforce a chance to grow

By Nancy Benecki DLA Troop Support

If you’re a member of the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support workforce and want to learn more about how other areas of the agency function, or if you’re thinking about a career change but still want to serve the warfighter, there is a new program available to help foster your professional growth.

The Cross Functional Rotation Program allows employees a six-month period in a different supply chain or office within Troop Support, said Kelly Latta, management program analyst in the Command Support Office’s Organizational Transformation Branch. During this time, employees gain a new professional experience while remaining a part of DLA Troop Support.

By working side-by-side with personnel in a different supply chain, employees learn new skills and infuse their own experience into a new team, he said.

“A lot of people have been at DLA for 15 years in the same role, within the same supply chain,” Latta said. “How do you change lanes if you wanted to? Even if you wanted to, it would be really hard to do. They get to learn the hard skills of that supply chain as well as the culture [through CFRP].”

There are seven participants in the first rotation of the program, which ends in April. Applications for the next rotation will be available once this rotation is completed, Latta said.

Jacqueline Reilly is a participant in the CFRP. During this rotation, she joined the Subsistence supply chain’s standardization and cataloging branch. Her permanent role is a supply systems analyst in the Business Process Support office, Planning Division.

“I’ve been in the business office for 10 years, and when I started at DLA, I was only exposed to Clothing and Textiles and the planning community,” said Reilly, who joined DLA in 2006 as an intern. “I wanted to explore other areas in DLA and other supply chains. When I saw [the CFRP], the job in Subsistence intrigued me, and I thought maybe I could give that a try.”

Now, Reilly has the additional challenge of learning her new role during a global pandemic, with most of the workforce working remotely.

“I like the cataloging area,” she said. “This is a great team. They’re very helpful, especially in these conditions. We’re doing a lot of work [virtually] on Skype and Microsoft Teams. I’m impressed with how much I’ve learned since we’re in a pandemic and I’m at home.”

Kevin Burza, the chief of the standardization and cataloging branch, is Reilly’s supervisor. He said his team needed another cataloger, and this program provided the opportunity to fill the role.

“She shadowed each person to get a feel of what we do here, what our mission is, and how we support the customer by working with tailored vendor logistics specialists and contract specialists by creating stock numbers,” Burza said. “We’ve been sharing screens, having phone calls, and using the technology available to us to be as transparent as possible to her. She’s a great addition to our team.”

While the program is new to Troop Support, other DLA Major Subordinate Commands have already implemented a cross functional rotation program, Latta said. Troop Support’s program is modeled after DLA Energy’s program.

When employees apply for available positions, they do not have to be in the same career track as the job they apply for or have prior experience, Latta said, but it is a competitive rotation.

“You have to be a high performer,” Latta said. “The selectees of this rotations were high performers. You have to be the cream of the crop.”

Candidates have to complete the application and be endorsed by their supervisor and supply chain management. Then, they have to be selected by a committee comprised of Troop Support senior leaders.

The CFRP offers a number of benefits to both the employee and their new work team.

“One of the benefits is it opens your eyes up to what else DLA Troop Support is offering or doing for our customers,” Burza said. “You’re able to go to another commodity and see how they’re supporting the warfighter.”

Another benefit, Reilly said, is that the job has increased her knowledge of the different aspects of DLA and Subsistence, and she’s made a lot of new contacts within the agency.

“When we have issues with other processes or supply chains, we often don’t know who to contact,” Reilly said. “This experience is going to help because I’m getting to know a lot of the Subsistence points of contact for different things.”

While she’s been training and learning about her new role in Subsistence, Reilly said she wants to stay current with the activities in her previous role so she can seamlessly transfer back once her rotation ends on April 30.

“You still have that comfort knowing you can go back to that job you’re so familiar with,” she said.

Reilly said she would absolutely recommend other members of the workforce to apply for the next rotation of the program.

“It’s been a great experience, and the people that I’m working with are really very helpful, and very knowledgeable,” she said. “I definitely would highly recommend it to anyone interested in changing career paths.”

The CFRP is a direct result of the 2018 climate culture survey, Latta said. The survey showed employees requested capability development and expanding their professional skills as a main area of focus for the workforce, he said.