News | May 4, 2016

Aviation Leader Commentary: Warfighter First

By Navy Capt. Bob Keating, Director DLA Aviation Supplier Operations

Our (Defense Logistics Agency’s) 2015 – 2022 Strategic Plan states our No. 1 Goal is to deliver innovative and responsive solutions to warfighters first.

To me, that means ensuring my fellow service members always have the advantage.  To paraphrase Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of Naval Research, “I don’t ever want our servicemen and women to be in a fair fight.”

Before I arrived at DLA Aviation, I was aware of DLA’s support, but I was not aware to what extent that support was being accomplished.  After a year onboard, I am astounded and proud every day of the efforts that are being taken to ensure there is never a ‘fair fight.’

DLA Aviation employees use innovative and responsive solutions every day and I want give a thankful Bravo Zulu shout out to Donnie Graves and Jim Egan, two of my supervisory contract specialists in our Contract Administration Division, and their teams for their continued support to the warfighter! 

Working together, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Post Award Branch Chief Donnie Graves and OEM Post Award Section Supervisor Jim Egan recently took the initiative to find out why orders for TF-34 Engine fan blades weren’t being shipped to Air Force units and Air Logistics Complexes.   The blades had become a high demand item with 23 Mission Impaired Capability Awaiting Parts (MICAPS) and over 300 backordered fan blades, with an ongoing monthly demand of 76 each.

On March 8, 2016, DLA Aviation was notified by the Air Force of the MICAPS and backorder situation. At this time, Donnie and Jim immediately contacted the supervisory team at Defense Contract Management Activity’s Boston office and their Northeast Transportation Office to remedy the situation.

The problem was a clause on the contract. DCMA was requesting the supplier ship the orders to customers through DLA’s Vendor Shipment Module (VSM), which is used for First Destination Transportation (FDT) awards versus DCMA’s Global Freight Management System (GFMS), which is used for all other awards.  FDT clause did not apply to the blades, as all of the orders being held were inspection and acceptance at origin.

The supplier was prepared to ship the orders, but could not do so if they were required to use DLA VSM. 

DLA Post Award Team members explained to DCMA’s Northeast team that none of the orders being held for shipment qualified as part of the FDT program, and that the supplier had been using the DCMA GFMS to ship parts for over 10 years.  With backorders growing, DLA requested all orders be immediately processed by DCMA GFMS.

The DCMA Northeast team agreed that the orders being held did not meet the FDT Packaging Initiative guidelines and should be immediately processed.  DCMA’s Boston office began processing all open orders for shipment with the highest priority given to contracts DLA identified as affecting the TF-34 Engine fan blades.

The supplier’s logistics manager in their Massachusetts Office communicated to all parties that they had regained access to DCMA’s GFMS and all orders were processed for immediate shipment.  DCMA’s Northeast team clarified the correct use of the FDT program with its personnel and assigned extra personnel to assist in processing all orders being held for shipment.

All delivery orders identified were shipped - eliminating all 23 outstanding MICAPS and backordered items - one day later on March 9.

In summary, it was only through outstanding collaboration between DLA Aviation’s Post Award team, the supplier’s contracting team and DCMA teams that a critical issue was resolved resulting in immediate support and relief to the warfighter!

I’m very proud of our DLA Post Award Team, who worked in close concert with the DCMA to correct affected discrepancies and misunderstandings which had resulted in work stoppages of material shipments.  The team also took the valuable time necessary to cross-train DCMA personnel on the proper utilization of the FDT Packaging Initiative.

Again, I say Bravo Zulu DLA Aviation! And, as one of America’s warfighters, I thank you for your daily commitment and support.