Joint Petroleum Seminar emphasizes importance of collaboration, logistics

By Tanekwa Bournes DLA Energy Public Affairs

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The Defense Logistics Agency Energy and Joint Chiefs of Staff Logistics hosted its 15th annual Joint Petroleum Seminar at the McNamara Headquarters Complex Jan. 11-13.

More than 100 participants attended the seminar, to include the Joint Chiefs of Staff J4 director, combatant commanders, Army Petroleum Center, Air Force Petroleum and Naval Supply Systems Command Energy to increase all parties’ knowledge of supporting the warfighter and to build relationships.

DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark McLeod said that the event is more than an opportunity to network; it’s also a chance for everyone to think about how they use the capability as it continues to evolve.

“My purpose is to challenge your thinking,” McLeod said during his opening remarks. “I want you to think about how capabilities [fuel] you use to support your mission, tell us where you need the capabilities and we [DLA Energy] will get them to you.”

He expanded on this idea during his presentation by focusing on balancing requirements with velocity in the supply chain. He mentioned how DLA Energy leverages the commercial supply chain in various combatant commands in order to support the warfighter with the help of end-use lease agreements. The agreements allow DLA Energy to meet the requirements of the warfighter and save funding by transferring port maintenance to the contractor.

Guest speaker Amanda Simpson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, focused on the importance of identifying risks and the ability to mitigate those risks to keep the nation’s adversary from harming energy supplies. Operational Energy’s mission is assuring the delivery of operational energy to the warfighter for training and operations worldwide.

“In order for operations plans to be effective, we must enhance communication between operations folks and logistics folks,” Simpson said. “This will ensure supportability of those plans and allow for time to look at realistic threats and constraints.”

Simpson said that as the military continues to lessen its logistics footprint and as the government and companies in the private sector research energy harvesting, there is another important factor to consider when looking at the true cost associated with energy. 

“The cost of fuel goes beyond dollars,” she said. “It includes operational costs for our forces to protect and move that fuel. It costs our forces when they’re caught in the line of fire, and you lose those men and women. So when we think about the cost in dollars it also includes our effectiveness in conducting our mission, and if we focus on that, then that is the true price of operational energy.”

Combatant commanders also presented their regional perspectives on the energy requirements and constraints.

“We focus on the tactical level of getting fuel to the warfighter specially Class III fuel,” said Marine Chief Warrant Officer 5 Shane Studer, director of the Bulk Fuel School at Marine Detachment Fort Lee. “Attending this seminar allows us to place names with faces and functions as well as get a better understanding of how to leverage what DLA Energy does for us. It also helps us to understand the big picture.”

For first-time participant Air Force Staff Sgt. Talvin Hayes, Current Operations division non-commissioned officer with the Air Force Petroleum Agency, the seminar provided him the opportunity to meet people his office supports.

“As a young NCO, I typically wouldn’t get this type of experience at my level.” Hayes said. “I don’t know of any other setting where someone would get the opportunity to sit down and be able to hear the different COCOMs discuss their initiatives and learn about their geographical areas of responsibility.”