FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Editor’s note: This is the first of nine stories featuring 2020 DLA Hall of Fame inductees. A video highlighting inductees’ contributions to the agency will be broadcast on DLA’s Facebook page June 23.
Former Defense Logistics Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Donald Babers, who led the agency through rapid growth in material management and contract administration from 1984 to 1986, is among nine inductees into the 2020 DLA Hall of Fame.
As the agency’s eighth director, Babers drove increases in repair parts availability, better community relations on hazardous waste and improved quality of items like military clothing. He called for studies to determine when it made sense to fly fresh fruits and vegetables overseas and when it made sense to buy them locally.
The general also made stronger partnerships with the military services a priority amid growing demand for DLA support. Since incomplete details for parts prevented the transfer of property between the services, Babers enlisted the services’ help in improving item identification for DLA’s catalogers at what was then the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service.
Babers also championed technological change as DLA employees received their first desktop computers. He sponsored an update of the Standard Automated Material Management System, which automated management functions across multiple supply chains. The update resulted in the first-ever connection between DLA and Defense Department systems.
In his final year leading the agency, Babers oversaw the creation of DLA’s strategic plan although the law wouldn’t require agencies to write long-range plans for another eight years.
“Not only was Babers’ plan the agency’s first, it was also one of the first in the federal government. In succeeding years, other agencies would mimic both the language and the approach DLA took in composing it,” according to Babers’ citation.
Babers also created the DLA chief of staff position to help oversee the agency’s workforce, which had grown to over 60,000 employees in almost 380 locations.
Editor's note: View Baber's segment of the 2020 DLA Hall of Fame ceremony video from June 23: