DLA reserve leaders focus on meeting agency’s needs

By Air Force Maj. Bryan Lewis, DLA Joint Reserve Force DLA Public Affairs

More than 100 soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and civilians from across the Defense Logistics Agency gathered for the DLA Joint Reserve Force’s annual Combined Drill Weekend June 27-28 at the McNamara Headquarters Complex.

DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch opened the event by asking attendees to raise their hands if they’ve deployed, resulting in a room full of raised hands.

“It goes without saying that ‘Warfighter First’ is why we are here,” Busch said, referring to the first of five goal areas outlined in the DLA Strategic Plan. “It’s why all 26,000 of us come to work, and based on your impressive deployment histories, I don’t need to tell you that. Mission readiness and responsiveness is what we need to continue to do. We need to protect the reputation that DLA has; that we’re always there, that we’re not just a parts store. We provide logistics solutions and provide them wherever the warfighters want us to.”

Busch continued by highlighting DLA’s vision, mission and strategic plan, including the role the reserve components fill for DLA and the nation.  Joining him in his direction for continuing DLA’s exceptional reputation by always being ready was Navy Rear Adm. Ron MacLaren, JRF director.

“What’s the definition of reserve?” MacLaren asked. “When needed, we go. There’s a saying when I used to run hospitals in my civilian life: ‘The good, they get better. The better, they become the best, but the best never let it rest.’ That’s all about continued process improvement, because you are never there. You are always going to be working on what can make us better, what can keep us on the top.”

Composed of 662 service members from the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines, the JRF currently has more than 50 members mobilized, and there have been more than 1,500 mobilizations since 9/11. Though only a small portion of DLA’s 26,000 employees, the JRF averages about 50 percent of deployed DLA members, with that number going as high as 80 percent at times.

“When I go out to the field, you are indistinguishable from the active duty folks that are out there, and that is an incredible reflection on your professionalism,” Busch said. “I expect you to stay connected and understand what the issues are. I expect you to work your individual readiness all the time. That includes your physical fitness; that includes all the elements of resiliency that go beyond physical fitness.”

Throughout the weekend, joint team leaders, executive officers and training officers emphasized these standards while also breaking into focus groups focused on improving readiness, training and operational support to DLA.

“We are here to drive where we need to be,” MacLaren said. “The last 15 years especially, you’ve done a great job, and I know you’ll continue to do a great job. What’s our vision for the next 20 years? Let’s work towards our plan and establish how we get there.”