DLA director notes value of partnerships for clothing, textiles

By Dianne Ryder

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The director of the Defense Logistics Agency delivered a keynote presentation to about 150 government and industry partners, including leaders from DLA Troop Support, at the National Council of Textile Organizations 13th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., April 12.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch stressed the importance of improved buying practices, funding and future military requirements for clothing and textiles.

“First and foremost, we are a combat-support agency,” Busch said. “[Over the years,] our proliferation out to the far ends of the earth has increased in complexity and investment.”

Busch described himself as “a depot maintenance guy,” given his background in the Air Force Materiel Command and as previous commander of DLA Aviation. He said many of DLA’s issues have to do with the agency’s relationship with industry.

“When I visit PACOM, like I did recently, I’m talking to the commanders, and they value the relationships we have,” Busch said. “We don’t produce anything; you guys do.”

As the purchasing arm of clothing and textiles, DLA Troop Support deals primarily with the services to outfit the troops. Anti-gravity garments are worn by both Air Force and Navy pilots to protect against the effects of G forces in flight. They are critical safety items, but challenges with the specifications, production and production capacity meant the suits were not always delivered on time. However, DLA Troop Support is now on target with its deliveries, Busch said.

The director emphasized the agency’s focus on better buying power and said DLA is looking for innovation in buying practices. He encouraged fabric producers and those who influence future products to develop relationships with the military services’ research and development components.

Busch touted the fact that DLA has become audit-ready two years ahead of schedule, and he credited many in the audience for helping the agency achieve this.

“We could not have done that without our industry partners,” he said.