Busch shares leadership principles, future outlook at Distribution town hall

By Emily Tsambiras DLA Distribution

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Navigating the Defense Logistics Agency through an unknown future with affordable continuous process improvements, increased accountability and resilient team members was the focus of DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch’s first address to the DLA Distribution workforce during a May 11 town hall in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Introducing Busch, DLA Distribution Commander Army Brig. Gen. Richard Dix told the audience, “He’s a people’s leader. He walks the path he expects everyone to take.”

Defining that path, Busch led the audience through his guiding principles for leading the organization.

“It’s my pledge to you that I will maintain an action orientation,” he said. “We will continue to move out on problems and get things done. I will do my best to set tough goals. I also pledge to help you all remain resilient enough to take on everything that comes your way in your personal and professional lives.”

Busch said the agency’s posture of making promises and keeping them has served the organization well in the past.

“I’ve been out meeting with the combatant commanders,” he said. “While I feel some are underserved and we could be doing more, they are extremely complimentary of what they’re getting out of DLA.”

Busch also noted that combatant commanders are not the only ones recognizing DLA employees’ hard work.

“I can tell you that [former Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel, Secretary [Ash] Carter, and Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, know about the great things DLA is doing. Don’t underestimate the national visibility of what you do,” he said

Ensuring customers and stakeholders understand DLA’s mission and progress toward audit readiness and financial stewardship is important with the challenges DLA and the Defense Department face in the coming year, Busch said.

“The challenge is getting bigger every day. Sequestration is the law of the land, and every day that Congress does not come up with a solution, we move closer to sequestration. We need to accept that all the things we thought couldn’t happen can, and we need to keep that in mind for all of our future planning.”

Avenues to navigate that uncertain future include strengthening DLA’s alignment to Kendall’s strategic message toward Better Buying Power, Busch said, which focuses on acquisition savings and improved buying power.

“The tenants of Mr. Kendall’s Better Buying Power initiative are clear guidance of what he wants us to do: focus on continuous process improvements and affordable innovation,” he said. “I want you to know that I have not had a single success as a general officer that wasn’t tied to CPI. I know that DLA and Distribution have invested in people that have skills in CPI, and we need to harness that and really focus on those areas of our business that need improvement.”

Additionally, Busch emphasized the need to stay the course following DLA’s 2015 audits. He said the agency needed to carry on the effort started under his predecessor, Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek.

“Admiral Harnitchek got us up to audit readiness. Andy Busch gets audit sustainment,” he said. “What I want you all to realize is that this isn’t a final exam. You won’t just take it and walk out the door. We need to carry this into the future; otherwise all this effort will go to waste.”

Closing the town hall, Busch fielded questions from the audience. In response to the question He was asked about DLA Distribution’s future over the next decade.

“Distribution was very relevant coming off the last 13 to 14 years of war,” Busch said. “Now that the volume of material moving back through the supply chain is diminishing, you need to continue to be innovative and find new ways to do work.”