FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Speaking to a virtual audience of over 100 attendees, Defense Logistics Agency Director Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic addressed the Washington D.C. Chapter of the National Defense Transportation Association May 20. She outlined DLA’s priorities for supporting the warfighter, the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, recent support missions and took questions.
“Supporting the warfighter is our true north,” Skubic said. “That is why we exist.”
Attendees from government agencies, big business and former flag and general officers were among those listening to the webinar.
Beginning with an overview of DLA, Skubic pointed out the agency’s footprint across the globe and the missions of each Major Subordinate Command. She said of the agency’s $40.7 billion in revenue for fiscal 2020, $19 billion of it came from DLA Troop Support.
Moving to DLA’s latest Strategic Plan, Skubic outlined the plan’s five lines of effort and provided examples of DLA’s achievements and goals for each.
One major effort DLA undertook recently was a supplier feedback survey. It was the first in many years and designed to determine what factors drive supplier satisfaction. DLA is using those responses to drive internal change.
DLA invited more than 8,100 suppliers that have done over $50,000 in business with DLA over the last two years and had 34% response rate.
“We did multiple follow ups on the feedback, “she said. “We are actively listening to feedback and incorporating it into tailored solutions.”
The pandemic and the future of work were other major topics Skubic covered. She said two thirds of the agency’s 27,000 employees have been teleworking for over a year. While the effort has been mostly seamless, Skubic said we need to look at many factors, from office layouts to what is missing when there is less face-to-face communication, to determine how to best adapt to this new normal.
Talking about DLA’s support to our nation, Skubic said this mission is a growing piece of the agency’s portfolio, with 25% of annual sales from DLA’s over 40 interagency partners.
A great example of this partnership is our work with FEMA [The Federal Emergency Management Agency],” she said. “In delivering food, fuel and other products to FEMA, DLA’s rapid and spot-on response” can provide lessons to strengthen our support to the warfighter.
“We are not learning new tricks, we are practicing our best tricks.”
Speaking on transparency and accountability to our customers, Skubic said trust is a major factor. She said DLA and U.S. Transportation Command’s alignment in delivering the COVID vaccine to over 37 countries overseas resulted in many issues, from how to keep the vaccines cold to customs holdups. The two agencies worked closely to find solutions.
“If we trust each other, we can solve problems together,” Skubic said.
On acquisition and supply chain management, Skubic said DLA is very good at automated acquisition.
“We have lots of options in our contracting toolbox,” she said.
A successful example took place virtually last fall. The DLA Industry Collider Day involved 550 participants from academia, government, and industry, both large and small, and brought them together to discuss critical problem sets. She said there are plans to repeat this event later this year.
On current events, Skubic said the recent cybersecurity breaches of Solar Winds and Colonial Pipeline showed the criticality of the defense of these systems.
Skubic took a few questions, each centered on the role of DLA in the Colonial Pipeline event. She said DLA was at the table and actively involved in the discussions with the White House, the Department of Defense, FEMA, and other organizations by providing options and standing by to undertake contracting actions.
Skubic wrapped up the presentation with a shout out to DLA Director of Logistics Operations Maj. Gen. Allan E. Day, who is retiring next week. (NOTE: Day retires May 25)
“Gen. Day likes to say that on America’s worst day, DLA must be at its best,” she said.