FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Defense Logistics Agency Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas introduced his new deputy commander and provided an update to the workforce during a town hall held in the Fort Belvoir McNamara Headquarters Complex auditorium July 19.
More than 450 employees joined the hybrid events, which were held with a small live audience and web videoconferencing.
“I want to welcome Mr. David Kless as the DLA Energy Deputy Commander,” Canlas said. “We are super excited to have him with us. He is coming to us from the J3, so he is no stranger to DLA.”
Kless came to DLA as Naval supply officer in 2007. He retired from active duty in 2011 and returned to DLA as the Executive Director, in DLA Logistics Operations (J3), when he earned his appointment to the Senior Executive Service in 2018.
“Thank you for the warm welcome,” Kless said. “I've heard nothing but great things (about Energy), and I'm very familiar with parts of Energy; but other parts, not at all. I would ask for patience and time, as I learn what you do. But don't be afraid to keep me straight and let me know what your ideas are.”
DLA Energy Strategic Communications Group Military Deputy Director Army Capt. Jerry Bortner briefed the latest regeneration highlights reminding the workforce that the McNamara Headquarters complex remains at HPCON Bravo/Phase 0. According to the Secretary of Defense April 29, 2021, Memorandum, HPCON Bravo calls for less than 50% of the workforce in the building and medically vulnerable individuals to shelter-in-place.
“DLA Energy headquarters complex is assessing groupings of personnel for incremental return to the workplace,” Bortner said. “We are standing by for future guidance on timelines before finalizing the DLA Energy reintegration plan.”
Bortner said that there has been nothing official changed to the current DLA telework policy; however, the maximum telework flexibility for employees that have dependents has been extended through March 2022.
Employees are encouraged to continue to follow DLA, Department of Defense, federal, state, and local guidelines for COVID restrictions and to continue to maintain safety practices, social distance, and inform your supervisor of any influenza-like symptoms, and/or need to seek medical attention.
“Reintegration continues to be foremost in our thoughts,” Canlas said. “I urge everyone to be patient. We expect new guidance from DoD on the return to work and the future of telework. As far as the Delta variant, we are keeping a close eye on it.”
More than 16 supervisors and employees were socially distanced throughout the auditorium attending the town hall.
“My number one priority is the safety of our employees,” Canlas said. "We need to remain flexible and engaged as we shape the future to have a safe and methodical return to the workplace. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”
Canlas announced Energy’s second and third quarter fiscal year 2021 employees of the quarter. He also welcomed new leaders who recently took command throughout the DLA Energy regional offices.
After taking several questions from the audience, Canlas concluded the town hall with a heartfelt thank you to Patricia Wilkins. Wilkins is the permanent DLA Energy Quality Technical Director but was the acting Deputy Commander since May.
“Over the last few months, we have had a rock star in our midst,” Canlas said. “Our Acting Deputy Commander Patricia Wilkins was the solo drummer up on stage covering down for Energy and serving as the Acting Commander during my battlefield circulation travels to the Pacific regional commands and Pacific Sentry 21.”
Canlas compared Wilkins to the Irish musician, Larry Mullen, who was the drummer and co-founder of the iconic rock band, U2.
“Patricia did an amazing job handling every challenge facing her. With her steady drumbeat, she led Energy through the Agency Management Review, the first MSC to go through AMR since COVID began,” Canlas explained. “She soloed through the ransomware cyber-attack causing the Colonial Pipeline to halt operations to contain the threat. Ms. Wilkins, like a world-famous rock star drummer, you held Energy together!”
DLA Energy holds quarterly town halls to keep employees informed and in touch. The next All Hands townhall event is scheduled for September 28, 2021.