News | May 15, 2015

DLA Energy supports relief efforts in Nepal

By Christopher Goulait DLA Energy Public Affairs

The Defense Logistics Agency Energy is providing fuel-related support to Nepal following the April 25 and subsequent May 12 earthquakes.

DLA Energy is coordinating with the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Pacific Command, the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. defense attaché offices to provide access to fuel and information on fuel availability in the region.

“DLA Energy Pacific’s primary role in the efforts to assist those affected by the Nepal earthquake is to provide the most accurate timely information on fuel availability in the effected region,” said DLA Energy Liaison Officer to PACOM Luther Hankins.

Immediate assistance can come through a number of tools DLA Energy has at its disposal, Hankins said.
One is access to fuel through the DLA Energy Aviation Into-Plane Reimbursement Card program, also known as the AIR Card, which is a merchant agreement allowing aviation assets to upload fuel through pre-approved credit arrangements. Other tools are into-plane contracts with specified petroleum vendors, as well as international or government-to-government agreements.

Determining the requirements needed to begin putting the support in place began with a rough start, Hankins said.

“The initial development of the mission parameters was difficult, making development of force structure and fuel requirements also difficult,” he said. “DLA Energy (personnel) developed a support plan to meet the need of the response force using a combination of AIR Card and into-plane solutions. Although the overall requirement in gallons was not as demanding, coordination with USAID, U.S. defense attaché offices and the locations was hard to pin down.”

A team reaching from the Pacific to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, is responsible for these efforts.

“I’ve been doing this for a very long time and know this: it is always a team effort, no matter where, no matter how big or small,” Hankins said.

Work began when the DLA Pacific commander activated the Pacific Logistics Operations Center, coordinating through Hankins with the DLA Energy commander and the PACOM Logistics Operations Center and Joint Petroleum office to determine need for fuel. Subject matter experts from DLA Energy Pacific at Okinawa and the III Marine Expeditionary Force led the mission development, assisted by the DLA Energy Operations Center and DLA Energy Direct Delivery Fuels.

While he wouldn’t call this support “easy,” Hankins said the team’s years of experience providing assistance around the world does make a difference in enabling them to measure actions according to capability, need and levels of response.

“Members of the team have been involved in humanitarian assistance responses across the globe; both overseas and in the United States,” he said. “The experiences of the team culminated in a well-staffed, deliberate, yet cautious response to a terrible tragedy in Nepal.”