News | Dec. 29, 2021

Indo-Pacific property disposal pros keep reverse logistics train running

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

The Indo-Pacific region covers a vast swath of the earth, and the missions our nation’s warfighters pursue across its sprawling lands and water are as diverse as the people and places it includes.

Headquartered in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the regional team that supports those many missions with reverse logistics expertise overcame a year of pandemic-related challenges to help the U.S. military pursue its strategic goals. 

“2021 for [Disposal Support Directorate] Pacific was a year of resiliency,” said Faron Cordrey, the region’s property disposal director. “Despite COVID challenges, our teammates kept all our sites operating at 100% capacity and full efficiencies. We made sure that the warfighter had continued support and didn’t miss a beat in their operational mission readiness.”  

Starting with the mainland, the Anchorage site notched a historic first with its successful abandonment/destruction sale for scrap material completed early in the year. A local Alaska buyer paid just over $1,200 for 309,000 pounds of detritus that had slowly accumulated at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The sale saved DLA an estimated $14,000 in removal fees and landfilling costs. According to site leadership, the private industry buyer was “so happy with the scrap from the A/D sale,” they became interested in exploring additional business with the agency, including bidding for future demilitarization/mutilation-required scrap lots. 

On the Korean Peninsula, the Gimcheon team had to navigate changes made to South Korean scrap import laws, delaying removals there by six months. But its personnel stayed busy, successfully clearing a 120,000-pound electronic scrap backlog and disposing of 90,000 pounds of “white goods.” 

In Hawaii, the Pearl Harbor site’s Environmental Solid Waste Program saved over $110,000 through waste diversion actions, wood under scrap sales at a profit, and cardboard to the sales contractor at no cost. According to leaders there, the site is setting “more ambitious goals” for similar business services in fiscal 2022.

On the Reuse, Transfer and Donation side of the organization, the site found new homes for 30 HMWVV vehicles originally worth $5.7 million through State Agencies for Surplus Property recipients. The Sales program also contributed to good stewardship of taxpayer dollars, saving over $1 million by flagging an erroneously misidentified new item (ECG Chlorinator). Proper identification by site personnel prevented it from being downgraded. Staff returned the high-dollar item to DLA Distribution inventory for warfighter use.

Of note, the site also provided divestiture support to the U.S. Army’s 25 Infantry Division, with over 10,000-line items turned in.

At DLA Disposition Services Okinawa, the team worked to meet customer needs for expended munitions turn ins. Customers had held onto expended munitions for over a year due to confusion on what types of property DLA Disposition Services could and could not accept. DLA 

Okinawa employees created a DLA Disposition Services Expended Munitions Documentation Guide for customers to use when turning in. They spent hours researching and corresponding with Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel to create the document for customers to use when preparing their property for turn in. 

“This guide will ensure customers are aware of the types of expended munitions that can be turned in to DLA Disposition Services, how to prepare the property for turn-in, and the correct documentation required,” site leaders wrote. 

The guide provides examples of the turn-in documents and pictures of types of expended munitions DLA can receive and items it cannot. It also explains what the customer must do to prepare the items for turn-in and how to properly package the property for turn-in. This guidance, if followed by the customer ensures property and documentation are correct and confirms that DLA will not accept explosive or dangerous items. The guide was shared with other sites in the Pacific that receive expended munitions.

DLA Disposition Services Sagami was contacted by the U.S. Air Force’s 347th Civil Engineer Squadron for removal of 16 underground fuel storage tanks discovered at the Yokota Air Base Osprey campus during construction on the east side of the aircraft parking apron there. During the planning of a new project, the tanks were discovered by a construction contractor. They appeared to have been properly cleaned and decommissioned, as sampling of tank liquids resulted in clean water. 

To avoid delays of site utility and road work, tanks were pulled out of the ground and moved to the side. Twelve of the tanks were 90 feet long and will could not be transported in an “as is” state. There was a just over 700,000 pounds of heavy scrap metal a Japanese scrap contract firm successfully removed, bringing revenue of $47,091 back to DOD. Additionally, more than 58,000 pounds of hazardous material was removed from Yokota generated by the local DOD school district and base motor pool.