FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Defense Logistics Agency leaders and representatives from six industry associations discussed inflation and logistics challenges such as supply disruptions and labor shortages June 28 at the McNamara Headquarters Complex.
The two-hour meeting, part of a multi-year effort to strengthen DLA’s partnership with defense industrial base suppliers, featured a roundtable approach with free and open communication. Attendees included DLA leaders and members of the Professional Services Council, National Defense Transportation Association, Aerospace Industries Association, National Industries for the Blind, National Council of Textile Organizations, and Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition.
“We need to keep a robust dialogue going,” DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic told industry representatives. “It is vitally important to keep the industrial base healthy if the United States is going to have a competitive advantage on the battlefield.”
Matt Beebe, director of DLA Acquisition, said DLA needs to keep learning and understanding the risks and challenges industrial organizations have and how the supply chain continues to evolve. He pointed to the reduction in number of defense industrial base suppliers as a concern for DLA and the entire federal government.
To deal with the reduction and inflation, Beebe said DLA is taking actions like adjusting the quantity and frequency of buys, updating supplier interaction tools, working to increase small business supplier diversity and strengthening industry engagement.
Textile industry representatives described the negative impacts the pandemic had on many businesses. Some were able to retool and make personal protective equipment and other related items to keep afloat during the past two years.
Another representative applauded DLA’s efforts to contract for American-made goods and said other government agencies should use DLA as a model for contracting for such items.
Skubic also talked about the agency’s Industry Engagement Plan, a 15-page document that outlines five focus areas for facilitating better acquisitions, and said DLA leaders believe strongly in enabling a secure defense industrial base.