News | May 31, 2022

DLA prepares for upcoming hurricane season

By Nancy Benecki

Members of the Defense Logistics Agency discussed preparations for what weather experts predict will be a busy hurricane season and the best ways to support whole-of-government partners during a virtual hurricane academics session May 25.

The event, now in its third year, covered topics like the National Response Framework, Agency Synchronization and Operations Center Current Operations Branch roles and processes, DLA expeditionary capabilities and lessons learned.

Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict 2022 will be the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season, which runs June 1 to Nov. 30. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts 14 to 21 named storms. Between six and 10 of those storms could become hurricanes, with three to six possibly becoming a Category 3 storm or higher with winds over 111 mph.

There have been more storms than predicted for the last 40 years, said J3/5 Plans and Exercises Director Lew Sigmon.

“We need to be ready, so let’s review our operational processes now, think about how we work day-to-day, and who’s going to take over our responsibilities when [rapid deployment teams] get tagged to mobilize and support these hurricane response efforts,” Sigmon said to about 45 participants from the ASOC, DLA Rapid Deployment Teams and major subordinate commands.

Hurricane support is nothing new for DLA. The agency has provided hurricane support since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, making hurricane season one of the agency’s busier times of the year, he said. The ability to shift between combat operations and hurricane support will be important to the agency, he added.

There are direct links from lines of effort in DLA’s Strategic Plan to preparing for hurricane season, Sigmon said.

“Our number one line of effort and mantra is to support the warfighter, and how we’ll do that during hurricane season is going to be critical,” Sigmon said.

Hurricane support falls under the line of effort to support the nation.

“Capitalizing on our scope, scale and skills in acquisition, storage, distribution and surge capabilities, the nation has increasingly called upon DLA to provide whole-of-government support,” Sigmon said.

DLA’s support for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts are coordinated at the ASOC at Fort Belvoir, Va. Support is provided through Defense Support of Civil Authorities processes and execution orders created by the Office of the Secretary of Defense that outline leading military and federal agencies, typically Federal Emergency Management Agency and NORTHCOM.

DLA provides domestic and international disaster relief, especially through its partnership with FEMA, said Bob Gagnon, DLA’s liaison officer to FEMA. This support includes meals and water, medical supplies, power generators, tents, tarps, cots, fuel and staffing assistance.

Requests for DLA supplies and services enter the ASOC as work orders known as mission assignments that address short-term needs to save lives and protect property, Gagnon said.

“Mission assignments are not a surprise,” Gagnon said. “They’re pre-coordinated with myself and my counterparts at the major subordinate commands, and then we pass them through the ASOC to the tasked MSCs through their [command control centers] so everybody has full visibility of what’s coming.”

Support for fiscal 2021 storm support, which included the Texas winter storm and hurricanes Delta, Henri and Ida, cost $39.9 million. DLA Distribution Expeditionary support was $2.5 million. Commodities supplied included over 808,000 meals at $5.5 million, 126 leased generators at $6.1 million, and 752,000 gallons of fuel, he said.