BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
2022 Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Central will look vastly different than its 2021 version due to significant changes in the region.
Major facility upgrades, new site construction and perhaps most notably the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan are some of the events that took place throughout the Central Region last year.
One of the smaller regions in terms of its size, Central has the most unique set of circumstances considering the rapid personnel turnover rate and high operations tempo. Overcoming these challenges has helped the region solidify itself heading into 2022 after the landscape was drastically altered.
For the first time since 2006, Disposition Services no longer has a presence in Afghanistan. The agency provided vital disposal support to our warfighters in the region over the years. By 2014 Disposition Services was responsible for the disposal of 1,023,488,854 accumulative pounds of scrap – the equivalent of 35,292,719 home weekly trash removals. The withdrawal of U.S. forces along with Disposition Services sites in-country is a major shift in operations for the entire region – the effects of which remain to be seen.
“At one time we had 10 sites in Afghanistan,” said DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon during the annual Leadership Summit in Battle Creek, Michigan. “What will CENTCOM look like post-Afghanistan? We have a region that has dramatically changed over the last several months and we have to figure out how we’re going to best support the commander in that region from a disposal perspective.”
As Disposition Services support within the region continues to evolve, sites such as Qatar are normalizing as the year closes out. Qatar is transitioning to a fully capable 19-acre site with multiple equipment upgrades and improvements for personnel that should pay dividends across the board.
“The biggest benefit is going to be space and the ability to receive double to triple the property we are receiving right now,” said Senior Master Sergeant Nahkoma Doyle, superintendent of DLA Disposition Services Qatar. “I think we’re continuing to improve, and I think we’re only just now scratching the surface of how the operations are going to be. Each six months we should keep getting better and better if we keep this momentum.”
Improvements did not stop with the ability to effectively handle workload increases. The region has worked hard through the past months to also expand and streamline processes and facility configurations as well as improve safety measures. These latest operational modernizations reinforce the fact that safety remains a primary concern for Disposition Services especially in terms of the Qatar facility upgrades.
“We’re already working safely now,” said Senior Master Sgt. Doyle, “But overall, how the yard is going to be set up with the new cutting bays – the safety aspect is going to be very much improved. Being able to spread things out will be a lot safer moving around and in and out of the yard.”
Increasing disposal capabilities of the region wasn’t the only focus for its personnel. Disposition Services military members contributed more than 130 hours of volunteer service in support of Operation Allies Refuge at Al Udeid Air Base. This humanitarian mission helped to ensure the safe transport of over 14,000 people with zero mishaps. Additionally, several babies were safely born during the successful evacuation efforts.
As 2022 approaches so too will a new set of challenges for Central Region. Cannon pointed out that the correct mix and quality of incoming personnel will help Disposition Services to meet those challenges.
“Getting the right mix of the right people,” Cannon said, “Those who are experts at what we do – will make us a much stronger organization.”