News | Aug. 9, 2016

Distribution process owners define roles and responsibilities

By Dianne Ryder

The commander of U.S. Transportation Command, Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew, hosted Defense Logistics Agency Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch as well as leaders from the military services, combatant commanders and other officials at an executive board meeting at the McNamara Headquarters Complex August 4.

The Distribution Process Owner Executive Board convened in person and via video teleconference to collaborate and synchronize DPO initiatives among the distribution enterprise members in support of the CCMDs.

In his opening remarks, McDew expressed appreciation to the members present.

“This is one of the most important meetings that I’ll go to all year,” he said. “Hopefully, this is value added for you.”

McDew said during the year he’s spent as USTRANSCOM commander, he’s attended many meetings with the CCMDs, service chiefs and members of the Secretary of Defense staff.

“What I’m finding is, there’s really only one guy that comes to the table talking logistics — it’s me,” he said. “So it’s important for me to get a better background and understanding of how the professionals throughout this enterprise really think and where are we positioned.”

McDew said one of the first questions he was asked when he arrived at USTRANSCOM was, ‘What is DPO?’ and he related the difficulty in defining the DPO’s role.

“If I went around this room and asked you what it was, we’d all have a different opinion; that bothers me a bit,” he said. “I think we need to figure out what the DPOs are, what we want from them, where we’re going and how we’re going to change this forum.”

McDew said the importance of the executive board meetings and his role as “global logistics ambassador” could not be overstated.

“This forum will actually do things that we need it to do and have the influence with the decision makers that we need it to have,” he said. “As we transition administrations, there’s an opportunity to make more of an impact.”

In addition to defining the DPOs’ role, board members discussed a variety of topics including strategic mobility, joint deployment readiness, combatant commanders’ perspective, optimizing storage and distribution and cybersecurity.

During closing comments, Busch responded to McDew’s gratitude for the use of DLA’s conference room. “Sir, your use of this facility is built into our rates,” Busch quipped.

Busch informed the board that he was working with DLA’s Logistics Operations director, Rear Adm. Vincent Griffith, on the regional command and control structure in the overseas commands.

“The first thing we’ve done is a customer-facing initiative to rationalize the amount of support that have out there, because that wasn’t entirely clear how we built that layer by layer,” he said. “The second and probably more visible thing that you’ll see is the alignment of all the assets that are in your respective theaters to those regional commanders.”

Busch thanked McDew for the invitation to the executive board, and McDew said he wanted to change the occurrence of the meetings from once a year to every six months.

“Please think of us, all of us, as one enterprise that we can all speak to, for and about each other,” McDew said. “I consider myself a collaborative decision maker. I put ‘collaborative’ up front, but the big word you should hear is decision maker.”

He urged the board members to continue to provide him input and keep the lines of communication open.

“Leverage my ability to sit at the table,” McDew said. “Hold us accountable for the things we say we do well, and make us do them.”