During his Town Hall event March 4, hosted virtually from Philadelphia, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence shared his reflections on the past year, provided employees with an overview of recent events, and set a course for the organization’s way ahead in 2021.
Lawrence opened by sharing his appreciation of the workforce’s success, despite overcoming professional and personal challenges over the past 12 months.
“I just want to say that I am incredibly, incredibly proud of you,” he said.
In dealing with these challenges, he noted the adaptability of the organization’s use of digital resources amidst increased demands in support of the warfighter and nation.
“Things like personal protective equipment and social distancing have become part of all of our lexicons as we’ve dealt with the challenges of the past year,” Lawrence said. “And we’ve been able to coordinate and synchronize various efforts.”
He recognized specific award-winning efforts throughout the organization including:
- Medical logistics support of $163 million of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 test kits and facilitation of delivery of 125,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines;
- Clothing and Textiles awards of 83 million domestically sourced protective gowns and 3.6 million cloth face coverings; and,
- Construction and Equipment provision of more than $1 billion in equipment to safeguard nursing home residents and staff, as well as to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile.
Lawrence also reviewed the outcome of the 2020 Denison Climate Culture Survey which showed, despite myriad challenges, a significant increase in positive employee feedback on many issues.
“We’re proud of this, and proud of what you’ve done,” he said addressing the workforce.
While the pandemic and its subsequent global response requires continued work from home, DLA and Troop Support leaders continue to engage in reconstitution planning, he said.
“Safety and health of the workforce remains paramount in terms of priorities from the DLA director on down,” Lawrence said.
The decision to move toward more in-office work will be based on key factors being tracked and updated during daily leadership meetings. Despite the inability to go into the office though, he said, leadership remains ready for the next step in terms of equipment and cleaning supplies, and any change would be communicated to the workforce.
Information about COVID-19 vaccine availability for volunteers would also be shared as early as possible, DLA Troop Support Human Resources Customer Account Manager Katherine McMahon said.
“Emails have been going out asking employees if they’d like to volunteer, and we have those listings,” McMahon said. “Employees have the opportunity to update [their volunteer status] … and you will continue to see those communications.”
McMahon and Lawrence stressed that vaccination is volunteer-based, and would not be a requirement for employees to return to work in accordance with Department of Defense and DLA guidance.
Lawrence also teased the yet-to-be-released DLA Headquarters update to the agency’s Strategic Plan, and explained the need.
“The complexity of the global environment and the associated requirements being put on the agency, I think, really drives us to take a holistic look at how we’re operating … and develop strategies that matches the challenges [presented],” Lawrence said.
As DLA leaders work on the Strategic Plan and roll-out to the public, Lawrence assured employees that it is, as it has always been, focused on the warfighter first and always.
In closing, Lawrence reiterated his continued pride in DLA Troop Support in light of what, a year ago, would seem like insurmountable odds in facing: a pandemic, mass virtual work environments, national support of COVID-19 materiel all while balancing and meeting the needs of warfighters worldwide.
“We’ve also continued to grow the portfolio of Troop Support initiatives,” Lawrence said. “And that’s not me. That’s you out there. Your hard work, dedication and tenacity. That’s why I am, and continue to be, proud to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with the members of this organization.”