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Leadership Messages

DLA All Hands,

As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, DLA Human Resources, senior leaders, and other subject matter experts, have worked together to develop policy for a number of areas we’d rarely thought of before – things like social distancing in warehouses and offices, quarantining and isolating, wearing face coverings, sanitizing workspaces, and extended telework. Much of this policy has evolved over time as scientists and medical experts have learned more about how the coronavirus is spread and infects people, and the federal government and Department of Defense (DoD) have issued guidance on various topics.

I am pleased to share with you the comprehensive DLA COVID-19 Safety Plan, a broad-ranging policy document that includes guidance on the areas I discussed above rolled into one easy-to-understand package. 

Much of the guidance in the Safety Plan is not new; rules for things like mask wearing and social distancing in the workplace remain in place. Some topics represent further evolution; for example you’ll note a change in the need to quarantine or isolate if you’re in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 based on whether you are vaccinated or not. And some items in the Safety Plan replace previous guidance – this plan includes Health Protection Condition (HPCON) levels that are similar to but replace the return-to-work “phases” under our previous DLA Reconstitution Guidance and Framework.

I’ll outline some highlights below, but I encourage you to read the entire DLA COVID-19 Safety Plan and refer often to the DLA Coronavirus Information Site, which has been updated with the Safety Plan guidance.

  • Telework: Telework remains a valuable tool for many DLA organizations to meet mission requirements and minimize physical contact and infection risk. Employees currently teleworking full-time under DLA’s maximum telework posture during the COVID-19 pandemic will generally be given up to 14 days advance notice before they are required to return to work onsite at DLA duty locations, subject to mission requirements.  However, in the event of a surge in mission-essential work, you may be asked to report onsite for duty with little notice.
  • Face masks: Onsite DLA employees, contractors, and visitors must continue to wear a face mask that consistently covers the nose and mouth and meets current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance.
  • Quarantine and isolation: As a general rule, asymptomatic, non-immunized personnel with potential exposure to COVID-19 should not return to the workplace until they have a confirmed negative COVID-19 test. However, fully vaccinated personnel and individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past three months and have recovered are not required to remain out of the workplace even if they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Workplace operations: DoD has established a Health Protection Condition (HPCON) framework to categorize each location according to local pandemic-related conditions. Under the previous DLA Reconstitution Guidance and Framework, we referred to reconstitution phases; moving forward we’ll be referring to HPCON levels. HPCON levels will be location-based, and the full HPCON framework is spelled out in a handy chart in the DLA COVID-19 Safety Plan. In a nutshell, HPCON levels are determined by local conditions of several factors, including community spread levels. AS HPCON levels progress, teleworking employees and those on extended Weather and Safety Leave will return to their worksites incrementally. Once an HPCON level is declared for a location, the location may not exceed more than a 10% occupancy increase per two-week period up to the maximum percentage for that HPCON level. As we move through the HPCON levels, some organizations will be using staggered schedules and employee cohorts to best ensure employee health and safety. Examples of staggered schedules and employee cohorts are described in the Safety Plan.
  • Physical distancing: To the extent practicable, all DLA employees, contractors, and visitors are required to always maintain distance of at least 6 feet from others, consistent with CDC guidelines, including in offices, conference rooms, and all other shared workspaces.
  • Environmental cleaning: DLA Installation Management will continue to conduct cleaning in common use/high-touch/high-density spaces, such as lobbies, restrooms, elevators, and stairwells in accordance with CDC guidance. In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace, cleaning will be performed in accordance with CDC guidance.

This COVID-19 Safety Plan was developed to protect DLA employees, contractors, other building occupants, and visitors to DLA facilities and to help stop the spread of COVID-19. All DLA senior leaders are committed to protecting individuals in our facilities from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, while preserving our ability to complete our mission and continue to best serve our customers. Our DLA culture is a strong one, and our workforce is resilient. This Safety Plan will help DLA team members who have been on extended telework or leave come together safely and reengage with their teammates through interpersonal interaction, knowledge transfer to new employees, and the important mini-interactions that can only happen when we are physically in the office. It also reinforces health and safety protocols for the members of our workforce who have continued to carry out their duties onsite throughout the pandemic.

A special shout out to the members of the DLA COVID-19 Coordination Team (CCT) for their work in developing this comprehensive guidance document, and thank you to the entire DLA team for working together to complete our important missions while also doing all we can to ensure each other’s health and safety.

Warfighter Always!

Billie W. Keeler
Acting Director, DLA Human Resources
Defense Logistics Agency
 

DLA Team,

Thanks to recent guidance released by the Department of Defense, DLA employees are now authorized up to four hours of administrative leave during work hours to receive COVID-19 vaccination. Up to four hours is authorized for each shot and can be used for time spent traveling to and from the vaccination location, time at the vaccination location, and, if needed, for a reasonable amount of recovery time. The four hours of administrative leave covers vaccines administered by any source, including DoD, federal, state, and local government organizations, or private health care providers and commercial pharmacies, such as Walgreens, CVS, etc.

Employees who experience an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination are also authorized up to two workdays of administrative leave per vaccination dose for recovery if needed. Several Frequently Asked Questions on this topic are available on the DLA Coronavirus Information Page in the FAQ section under “Vaccine Availability.” 

The EAGLE timecard code for administrative leave (LN) and reason code (23 – disease/virus prevention) should be used for the vaccinations and for time off for any associated adverse reaction. Administrative leave may be granted retroactively for employees who used personal leave to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. Employees should contact their EAGLE Administrator to request a timecard correction to convert previously approved annual or sick leave or other time off used for this purpose to the correct administrative leave code.

Last month we introduced an automated tool that allows you to voluntarily self-report your vaccination status. Since the announcement of this new tool, many of you have reviewed the information within the system and volunteered your vaccination information to help DLA better focus vaccine supply availability. While providing your vaccination status remains completely voluntary, your input helps us better plan delivery of vaccines where they are needed most. 

The automated CAC-protected survey platform can be found at https://resources.hr.dla.mil/hrmcenter/apps/ResponseTracker.  If you had not previously but now wish to volunteer to receive vaccination from a DLA-facilitated source, you will be able to indicate this through this new platform. We’ve added this CAC-protected link to the left menu of the DLA Coronavirus Information Page for your convenience, so you can update your status whenever you have a change to report.

I urge your participation in this new online survey, as your support will in turn support the needs of our co-workers.

Remember, those wanting to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are encouraged to explore all methods for receiving the vaccine, to include state and county health departments, local pharmacies, your personal healthcare provider, or the Department of Veterans Affairs if you are an eligible beneficiary. To learn more about the safety and efficacy of available COVID-19 vaccines, these sites from the Military Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide reliable information.

Thanks for reading. Warfighter always!

Billie W. Keeler
Acting Director, DLA Human Resources
Defense Logistics Agency
 

DLA Team,

A year ago this month we were still grappling with understanding how to operate in this pandemic environment and wondering when we’d be back to “normal.” I don’t think many of us would have guessed we’d still be wondering a year later. As an organization we’ve made tremendous strides, using tools like telework and taking precautions to protect those required to report to our worksites to continue supporting our customers and meet our mission requirements. Even though at times we might feel “stuck,” the pandemic situation – and the federal government’s response to it – has continued to evolve. This message is intended to update the workforce of the latest developments potentially affecting our employees.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund

The ARP Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund authorizes emergency paid leave for a wide variety of reasons related to COVID-19. All DLA civilian employees are covered by this emergency paid leave provision, which provides up to 600 hours (15 weeks) of paid leave. The emergency paid leave is in addition to other types of paid leave but may not be used concurrently with other types of paid leave. The Government set aside $570 million in an emergency leave fund for federal employees to draw from, and the leave benefits are capped at $2800 per pay period. This leave may be used from March 11, 2021, through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2021. Please note: the employee’s federal retirement service computation date is amended by the amount of emergency paid leave used. This means time spent on emergency paid leave does not count towards the employee’s retirement benefits. You can find the full list of authorized reasons for employees to use this emergency leave fund in the Interim Guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. EAGLE site administrators will provide interim instructions for coding this leave in the EAGLE Time and Attendance System. OPM implementing guidance on emergency paid leave is pending publication and may result in backdated corrections in EAGLE being necessary. Once implementing guidance is published, DoD and DLA will issue supplemental procedural guidance for administering requests for emergency paid leave.

Vaccine Availability and Reporting

The Department of Defense (DoD) continues efforts to ensure every Department employee and beneficiary who wishes to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is able to obtain it. DLA has created and is maintaining location-based lists of employees wishing to obtain vaccination from a DLA-facilitated source, and we are working through those lists based on local availability. These location-based lists are managed by a Senior Accountable Official (SAO) and Senior Accountable Representative (SAR) at each DLA location. These designated officials are responsible for managing workforce accountability within each location, although they may not be within each employee’s chain of command. 

DoD has recently expanded efforts to gather data to better focus vaccine supply availability, so DLA is working to determine the percentage of the workforce that has been vaccinated against COVID-19. This information will be used to aid in identifying locations with distribution shortfalls and assist in prioritizing Agency/DoD vaccination efforts. You probably have been asked by a supervisor if you have received the vaccine or received a survey from your local SAO or SAR. Moving forward, this survey will be delivered electronically on a secure platform, through which you may access and report your information. Details will be provided to the workforce in coming days. While providing your vaccination status is completely voluntary, your input helps us more effectively plan for and deliver vaccine doses where they are needed most.

In the meantime, those wanting to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are encouraged to explore all methods for receiving the vaccine, including state and county health departments, local pharmacies, your personal healthcare provider, or the Department of Veterans Affairs if you are an eligible beneficiary. To learn more about the safety and efficacy of available COVID-19 vaccines, these sites from the Military Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide reliable information.

Reconstitution Status

Due to local conditions and instructions from the White House and the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM), most DLA locations are paused in Phase 0 or 1 of the DLA Reconstitution Framework. Agency leaders are waiting for additional guidance from DoD that will provide more specific details on the administration’s approach to reconstituting federal workplaces. However, recommended occupancy limits don’t impact our mission requirements. Commanders have flexibility to request exceptions for operational needs. Organizational and site leaders will receive revised reconstitution guidance when DoD officials issue further instruction.

Mask Wearing/Workplace Safety and Health Practices

As more of us become fully vaccinated and COVID cases and hospitalization rates across the country level off or drop, we might be tempted to let our guard down in DLA workplaces. But DoD guidance remains the same: masks are required in all facilities and installations, and rules for social distancing and frequent handwashing remain in effect. It’s important for all of us to do our part to keep ourselves and our co-workers safe and healthy. Please review and refer to the latest guidance on mask usage and workplace practices on the DLA Coronavirus Information Page.

As we have been for over a year now, we’re all in this together. I’m amazed at what this Agency has overcome and accomplished since the pandemic began, and I know we’ll continue to succeed if we remain vigilant of the safety guidelines and continue to show concern for each other and our important missions.

Thanks for reading. Warfighter always!

Billie W. Keeler
Acting Director, DLA Human Resources
Defense Logistics Agency
 

(*Note: This message was issued on Jan. 29, 2021, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

DLA Team Members,

Officials in the Department of Defense (DoD) and Defense Health Agency (DHA) are working to determine how best to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Department personnel who voluntarily agree to receive them. As you are no doubt aware from news reports, the nation continues to work through distributing the vaccine to our citizens, to include the DoD population. We are taking steps to make sure the DLA workforce is ready when our turn comes. To borrow from the Hamilton musical, we are not throwing away our shot!

DLA is following guidelines set in the DoD Vaccination Implementation Plan, and we anticipate all DoD personnel will be offered the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, it may take several months for vaccinations to become available for all who are willing to receive them. Under this plan, DoD is giving initial priority to healthcare workers, first responders, deploying forces, and certain other employees responsible for maintaining essential national security functions. Other categories of employees will fall into later phases.

To help effectively plan to meet these needs, DLA has been tasked by DoD to prepare location-specific lists of personnel who volunteer to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it’s made available by the Department. To this end, many of you have been or will be asked by your supervisors or officials at your work location if you are willing to volunteer to be vaccinated. If you haven’t been asked, I anticipate you receiving this question in coming days.

I’d like to take this opportunity to answer some questions you may have about why we are requesting this information, what we’re doing with it, and what you should expect as the federal government makes more vaccine stocks available to DoD organizations.

  • What information can my supervisor/senior official at my location ask for in conjunction with COVID-19 vaccines? Keeping in mind that all authorized COVID-19 vaccines are approved under an Emergency Use Authorization and are completely voluntary, your supervisor can ask if you have already received the vaccine and if you are willing to voluntarily receive a COVID-19 vaccination from DoD.
  • What information am I required to provide? You are not required to answer these questions if you do not want to be placed on a list to voluntarily receive vaccination.
  • Why is DLA collecting this information? We are meeting a DoD requirement to identify employees who are willing to receive the vaccine to facilitate planning for required doses and support efforts to prevent wasted vaccine supplies.
  • What if I change my mind about my answer? If you initially elect to receive the vaccine and later change your mind or vice versa, please alert your supervisor. Allowing your name to be added to the list for your location does not obligate you to take a vaccination. Likewise, if you add your name to the DLA list at your work location and you subsequently receive a vaccination from another source, such as your personal healthcare provider or community public health department, please let your supervisor know so you can be removed from the DLA list.
  • What if my “turn” to get a vaccination comes up and I am unavailable? You would stay on the list and be notified when the next opportunity becomes available.
  • What if an opportunity to receive a vaccination from my healthcare provider/city/county/state becomes available to me before DLA offers me a shot? We encourage employees who voluntarily agree to receive COVID-19 vaccination to accept the shots from whatever source becomes available to them first.

We will be adding some of these and other questions and answers to the DLA Coronavirus Information page and updating them as the situation evolves and more information becomes available. I also encourage you to familiarize yourself with information on vaccine safety and efficacy provided by the Military Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As a reminder, wearing a face covering is mandatory in federal facilities, even after being vaccinated against COVID-19. It is imperative to continue mitigation measures, such as wearing face coverings, maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet from others when possible, and regularly washing hands or using hand sanitizer. These measures are still necessary to help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. 

As we approach the one-year mark since the beginning of the pandemic, I know I speak for VADM Skubic and all your senior leaders in saying how proud we are of all this workforce has overcome and accomplished in the past year. I know we’ll keep doing all we can to meet the needs of our warfighters and our nation.

Thank you, and Warfighter Always.

Brad Bunn
Director, DLA Human Resources
Defense Logistics Agency

(*Note: This message was issued on Jan. 7, 2021, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

DLA Team,

It has been exciting to watch news reports of Americans receiving the COVID-19 vaccine under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and everyone in DLA can be proud of the critical part our Agency is playing in distributing vaccines and other critical pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. 

The Defense Department has full confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines approved by the FDA and has stated it is procuring enough federally approved vaccines for active-duty military members and their family members, retirees, reserve components, DoD civilian employees, and contractors. DoD is currently giving initial priority to healthcare workers, first responders, deploying forces, and certain other employees responsible for maintaining essential national security functions. 

In the coming weeks we’ll be learning more from DoD about how approved COVID-19 vaccines will be made available for DLA employees, and the Agency will continue to provide timely information updates. Because they are approved under an Emergency Use Authorization, all COVID-19 vaccines are offered on a voluntary basis. 

We also expect that people will have the opportunity to get vaccinated through their healthcare providers and local medical resources. We encourage you to consult with your healthcare provider and monitor communications from your local and state public health authorities, and if the vaccine is made available to you from those sources, you may certainly take advantage of that opportunity.  

In the meantime, it is imperative to continue mitigation measures, such as wearing face coverings, maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet from others when possible, and regularly washing hands or using hand sanitizer. These measures are still necessary to help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.  The CDC recommends that during the pandemic we continue to wear masks and practice mitigation measures, even after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.   

Thank you for your continued cooperation with these important health protection measures. We’ll share more info about vaccine availability and any applicable DoD or DLA policies as the situation evolves. 

If you want to learn more about COVID-19 vaccination efforts, these sites from the Military Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a good start. The DLA Coronavirus Information Page is also a great reference for DLA-specific information. 

WARFIGHTER ALWAYS!

Brad Bunn
Director, DLA Human Resources
Defense Logistics Agency
 

(*Note: This message was issued on Dec. 21, 2020, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

Team DLA,

As we come to the end of a taxing, yet extraordinary year, I just want to say thank you for the outstanding support you’ve provided to our Warfighters and our Nation in 2020.

While DLA has continued to provide unparalleled warfighter support, the big story of this year has been the COVID-19 pandemic. Your efforts in providing critical items and equipment in America’s time of need – PPE, medical equipment, test kits, hand sanitizers, food and fuel – has been nothing short of heroic.

I’d like to offer a special thank you to DLA’s front-line essential workers whose jobs require physical presence at a duty site, including team members at our distribution centers, disposition yards, and service industrial sites, our first responders who keep us safe, and of course, those deployed overseas serving alongside our Warfighters.

Performing as you have in the face of adversity is stressful and can test the resilience of anyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed many lives, including six cherished DLA team members whose loss we mourn. It has damaged livelihoods and threatened the economy. It has forced us to change the way we live, work, and interact with each other.

After nine months of the coronavirus, we’ve been through unrelenting stress, both personally and professionally.

As we draw closer to the holidays, I ask that you acknowledge the stress you’ve endured and to consider making your personal resilience a high priority.

The topic of resilience has been relevant to our military for years, but I think we can all benefit from it. Focusing on the core components of connection, wellness, healthy thinking, and meaning can empower us to withstand and bounce back from difficult experiences. Important aspects of resilience include engaging in enjoyable activities, social interaction, and regular exercise.

We’re on the cusp of the COVID vaccine rollout, and although we should not let up in our safeguards against the virus, there’s reason to be optimistic. In the meantime, take advantage of the holidays to safely connect with your loved ones.

Use this special season to find ways to build on your personal resilience. Consider it a gift to yourself and your family, a chance to improve your well-being and start the new year ready to meet the coming challenges.

I cannot begin to thank you enough for all we’ve accomplished in 2020. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, faith, and reflection. Stay safe, and I look forward to serving with you in a happier 2021!

Warfighter Always,

M. C. Skubic
VADM, SC, USN
Director, DLA
 

(*Note: This message was issued on Sept. 24, 2020, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

DLA Team,

Your health and wellness are very important to me and to the success of our Agency. The stress, anxiety and distraction the pandemic and other troubling developments widely covered in the news have caused for all of us are undeniable. 

Like so many across the Nation, our Agency has been impacted by the COVID crisis.  I am saddened to tell you we lost a DLA teammate to the pandemic this week. Many of us are dealing with other personal causes of stress and loss. For this reason, I ask that we remain vigilant in taking care of ourselves and others to ensure the well-being of our workforce.  Let me highlight some key health and safety matters (below) to which I remain committed:

Workplace Safety

Whether you report to the worksite or work from home, it is important that your place of work be a safe environment.  Commanders, directors, and supervisors are expected to continue worksite safety inspections and awareness initiatives.  Work areas in the home require adequate space, light, telephone and internet service, power, and temperature control.  Employees are responsible for ensuring that alternate workspaces comply with safety requirements.

Workforce Health and Resiliency

As I said during my introductory town hall, DLA only succeeds through the talent and drive of our workforce.  While it is incredible to see the devotion to the mission exhibited by all of our employees, the mission will fail in the long run without proper attention to individual needs.  Mental health and resiliency are as important in the current public health emergency as physical health.  I urge you to take time to stand up or stretch between tasks.  If you are working on your computer, take time to get up and stretch, take deep breaths, and look up from the computer at regular intervals.

Also, use your earned leave!  Even if travel plans are curtailed, it’s important to take time off work to recoup, regenerate and relax.

Resources and Support

Lastly, I also want to reassure you that our support programs and resources remain active and available.  Please do not hesitate to take advantage of these agency-provided resources.

  • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a fantastic resource and is here to support you and your family 24/7/365.  The EAP is completely confidential and free of charge to you and your family.  Do not hesitate to call 866-580-9046 for assistance, even if you just want to talk to someone.
     
  • Both the DLA Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) programs continue to assist and support members of our workforce.  Additionally, the SAPR and EEO staff continue to conduct and monitor annual SAPR and Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) training to ensure all employees continue to comply with DOD regulations, while working in a telework environment. There is no place for sexual harassment or sexual assault in our agency, regardless of where employees are currently working.
     

Finally, thank you for your ongoing dedication to the mission as we continue to persevere through this crisis.  I am honored to serve with you.  Please continue to check on one another, stay safe, and take care of yourselves and your families.

Warfighter always!

M. C. Skubic
VADM, SC, USN
Director, DLA
 

(*Note: This message was issued on July 22, 2020, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

DLA,

Let me start this message by thanking you for your flexibility, resilience, and creativity in dealing with the changes and expanded mission areas brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. If you haven’t been following what all areas of DLA are doing to support the military and the nation in this crisis, spend a few minutes browsing the success stories. Every member of Team DLA contributed in some way to these accomplishments. 

You’re likely aware that many areas of the country – including areas where DLA employees live and work – are seeing increases in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.  As a global combat logistics support agency – 27K people strong – DLA personnel are not immune, so it’s critically important that we all continue to understand and faithfully follow safety and health protocols. The DLA coronavirus information page has information on DLA policies and links to other authoritative sources providing valuable and comprehensive information on workplace and personal practices, including: wearing cloth face coverings, maintaining physical social distancing, frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer, and staying home if you are experiencing any of the physical symptoms associated with COVID-19.  If you haven’t already, please log into the DLA Learning Management System (LMS) and take the short training course titled “Returning DLA to the Worksite During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  While these practices are required in DLA workplaces, I also encourage you to follow them in all aspects of your daily life so that we can do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Leaders in all DLA locations and organizations are carefully tracking trends and following the best expert advice in making decisions as outlined in the DLA Reconstitution Guidance and Framework so we can provide the safest and healthiest workplaces possible while doing our critical work to support our nation. Thank you for your support of each other and our important missions as we figure out and carefully follow the best practices to protect our employees and workplaces.

As I said when I assumed responsibility as Acting Director earlier this month, DLA’s people are the heart of everything we do. You support the mission with great pride and you have proven time and again that you are compassionate, resourceful, and resilient. I know that you will continue to provide the same great support for our new Director, Vice Admiral Michelle Skubic, when she assumes responsibility later this week.

Thank you for everything you do to support each other and our nation.

Mike Scott
Acting Director
Defense Logistics Agency
 

(*Note: This message was issued on June 16, 2020, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

DLA Team,

For several weeks your senior leaders and various subject matter experts have been coordinating on plans that outline a path over time to bring more of our workforce back into our DLA workplaces. LTG Williams discussed some of these issues during last week’s virtual town hall. As some DLA locations prepare to enter the first phase, I wanted to share with you some more details on the phases outlined in those plans and some of what will be expected of all of us as we move through the phases.

I also would like to acknowledge the roughly 35% of our DLA workforce who have been designated as “mission-critical onsite,” which means they have come into their workplaces throughout this crisis to continue DLA’s vital work of supporting warfighters and the whole-of-government response to the pandemic. This includes deploying overseas; executing our wholesale distribution operations; supporting our Disposition Services customers; enabling our Service customers at shipyards, readiness centers, and depots; keeping our installations safe and secure; performing necessary IT “touch labor;” issuing CAC cards and fingerprinting new employees; performing classified work; and many other functions requiring physical presence. To those of you who reported for duty to continue these critical functions, THANK YOU.

For those locations and organizations that have been working under maximum telework conditions and expanded use of weather and safety administrative leave, it’s important to understand each DLA major population center has its own plan for returning employees to the workplace, all based on common guidance for a conditions-based, deliberate, and safe return to the workplace.  Different locations will likely go through the various phases on different timelines accounting for local conditions, but they will have common elements.

  • Four phases running from Phase 0, only mission-critical onsite employees are allowed in DLA workplaces, to Phase 3, which will reflect full mission operations, though still making use of protective measures such as social distancing.
     
  • All plans use “cohorts” to reduce the amount of employees in a location at a time, appropriate to the various phases. They also include considerations for high-risk employees, social distancing and alternate work schedules, reopening of facility support services, and disinfectant cleaning in accordance with guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
     
  • Officials in every DLA location are working to ensure adequate stocks of cleaning and sanitizing supplies are available to support personnel working onsite.
     
  • Reconstitution plans include provisions to consider the needs of families with school-age children in areas where schools and daycare facilities are closed or reduced in capacity. They also allow for continued expanded use of telework for employees with health conditions that place them at higher-risk for complications from COVID-19 and for those who care for vulnerable household members.
     

Depending on the locations, you may see various screening measures at the workplace, most of which involve employees “self-screening” to reduce the possibility of the spread of the virus.

Regardless of what phase your workplace is in, it will be critically important for all DLA team members to faithfully adhere to some simple safety provisions:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and frequently. If this isn’t possible, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after touching surfaces.
     
  • Frequently disinfect items you are responsible for, such as your keyboard, common access card, and phone.
     
  • Follow guidelines for physical distancing and allowable numbers of people in meetings, etc.
     
  • Wear cloth face coverings in workspaces when it’s not possible to maintain at least six feet of physical distance between co-workers, this includes when entering and leaving facilities and when moving through common areas such as hallways, stairwells and elevators.
     
  • Stay home if you experience any symptoms of illness or signs of a fever, and always notify your supervisor of your status.
     

DLA Training has developed a short online training video for all employees that will make clear what to expect in DLA workplaces and outline clear guidelines for everyone to follow while onsite. Look for this mandatory online training to be added to your learning plan in the DLA Learning Management System (LMS) in the coming days.

While it is not possible to completely eliminate risk in our workplace, everyone working together to understand and adhere to these guidelines is the surest way for us to keep our DLA workforce and families safe while continuing to meet our agency’s important mission requirements.

The best source of information on specifics at your DLA worksite is your supervisor and local managers. We have also updated the DLA Guidance and FAQ pages of our agency coronavirus info site, with additional information on the DLA COVID-19 Reconstitution Guidance and Framework.

This pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our agency and communities, and I continue to be impressed at how our DLA family has handled this situation. Thank you for your efforts as we continue to face these challenges together.

Brad Bunn
Director, DLA Human Resources
Defense Logistics Agency

 

(*Note: This message was issued on May 8, 2020, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

DLA Team,

Earlier this month I alerted you that a phased plan to guide DLA back to full-scale operations was in the works. A multi-disciplinary team from across the Enterprise has been working tirelessly to create a framework for DLA organizations and locations to follow as we work toward reconstituting our workforce and bring our valued employees back into Agency workspaces.

Your senior leaders were provided with this framework and detailed guidance on May 8. They are now working to create plans geared toward our major DLA population centers and all other locations where DLA employees normally report to work.

Here are some important things for you to know about the framework provided to senior leaders:

  • DLA organizations/locations will transition through four phases – from Phase 0, where we are now (maximum telework and workplaces restricted to mission-essential on-site-required employees), to Phase 3, full return to the workplace under normal operations. Different locations are likely to progress through the phases along different schedules depending on local/regional/state conditions. This means you’ll hear about status changes from your local leaders. Please stay in close contact with your supervisory chain for specific, day-to-day instructions when we begin implementing reconstitution plans.
     
  • There is no pre-set timeline for these phases. Each will likely last at least two weeks before moving to the next phase and will depend on positive community trends on COVID-19 cases and flu-like symptoms, local government restrictions and orders, and other factors.
     
  • Leaders will be prepared to “go back” a phase if conditions warrant.
     
  • You may be placed in cohorts to stagger shifts or workdays to minimize chance of infection to the extent possible during each phase. Organization and scheduling of cohorts may be adjusted as your location/organization progresses through the four phases.
     
  • Each phase of your organization’s reconstitution plan will be tailored to provide the safest work environment possible while maintaining mission effectiveness appropriate to the local conditions.
     

During our current “Phase 0” status and as we progress in a careful and deliberate manner toward “normal” operations under reconstitution plans, DLA managers and supervisors will continue to thoughtfully balance mission requirements while ensuring maximum workforce health and safety measures.  As mission needs evolve or change, so can requirements for mission-essential on-site operations. Employees on telework status or weather and safety leave remain subject to recall for mission-related reasons and should be postured to return to duty within one day of notification.

As we move among phases, my commitment to you is that employee safety will remain paramount in conducting DLA reconstitution. We are working to procure and have available Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and face shields, as appropriate to each location and job based on criteria under development by DLA Safety officials and informed by guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each DLA duty location will also strictly follow CDC guidelines for facility cleaning. And every one of us will still be responsible for CDC-directed personal behaviors, including hand washing, social distancing, and staying home if symptomatic.

Your leaders and their designated representatives are working to develop these local plans within a week. I have asked for them to be completed by Friday May 15 so we can scrutinize and troubleshoot as necessary and have the strongest plan possible in place when the time comes for your location to meet the first gating criteria and move to the next phase. You can expect to hear much more from your chain of command so you know what to expect at each phase.

We are also working to keep the DLA Coronavirus Guidance and FAQ as up-to-date as possible. Please continue to refer frequently to the coronavirus page for the most current Enterprise-wide information.

I am so proud of what this great Agency has accomplished under trying and unprecedented conditions since this crisis began, and I've heard equally high praise from our leadership throughout the DoD. As always, when our nation called, you answered – this time by supplying the tip of the spear in the battle against COVID-19, all while continuing to support our Warfighters. I am grateful to be your Director, and wish all of you and your families continued health and safety.

DARRELL K. WILLIAMS
LTG, USA
Director
Defense Logistics Agency
8725 John J. Kingman Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6221
 

(*Note: This message was issued on May 1, 2020, and may not reflect the most current situation for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

DLA Team,

I’d like to start this message by thanking you for the dedication, flexibility and teamwork I’ve seen demonstrated in all corners of our Agency during this unprecedented global crisis. You’ve taken the proverbial bull by the horns and have successfully served our customers and your fellow citizens. Because of this, our Agency has become a leading player in the federal government’s response efforts in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to your efforts, (as of May 1, 2020) DLA has:

  • Executed more than 5,300 contract actions worth more than $1 billion.
  • Procured medical facilities with 92 million gloves, 4 million N95 respirators, 8,000 ventilators, and 2.5 million gowns for healthcare workers.
  • Stocked the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy – the two U.S. Navy hospital ships that rapidly deployed to hot spots on both coasts to treat our fellow Americans – with more than $14 million in protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, fuel, food and repair parts.
  • Procured 1.5 million face shields for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • Awarded a contract at the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for 60 Critical Care Decontamination Systems and associated services to decontaminate N95 respirator masks, each one capable of sanitizing 80,000 masks per day for reuse.
     

You’ve managed these feats in the face of significant obstacles. We have had to limit personnel reporting to our worksites, so nearly 65% of our civilian workforce is teleworking situationally, often while also caring for school-aged children or other family members as schools, daycare centers, and elder care facilities are closed indefinitely. Our ability to conduct many of our operations remotely has served the Agency well during this period.

At the same time, our Distribution, Disposition and supply chain warehouse workforce has continued onsite “no-fail” operations in a safe and professional manner while dramatically and expeditiously ramping up mission output. Throughout this ordeal, DLA’s warehousing workforce, first responders, and certain other mission-critical employees have been part of the nation’s essential lifeblood.

I know many of you are wondering, “How long will we be operating under these circumstances?” and “What’s next?” The short answer is we aren’t sure yet, but a multi-disciplined team from across the Enterprise is working on a phased plan to guide DLA back to full-scale operations. They are aligning federal and DoD guidelines into a framework that also considers local decisions and conditions in order to resume operations for a deliberate return of our employees to DLA worksites.

None of this will happen overnight. Reconstituting our Agency will require that we continue to be diligent and flexible.  We’ll be aiming for consistency where practical, but keeping safety at the forefront and recognizing that mitigation measures will vary based on work environment. The factors to be assessed include local-area trends in reported COVID-19 illnesses, documented cases, and hospital capacity, as well as accessibility of schools and daycare facilities, and availability of public transportation where applicable. State and local statutes and emergency orders affecting DLA work locations will also factor into operating status decisions. The plan under development will provide a central source of information and a consistent foundation for local decisions in coordination with our labor partners.

Success in our efforts will require all of us to continue to practice good hygiene; stay home when ill; and adhere to state and local instructions and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), particularly with respect to face coverings.

As we complete these plans, we will pass direction through your chain of command. For now, continue to operate as we have been, performing our mission-essential functions, leveraging telework, and balancing mission requirements while protecting our workforce.

We hope to provide more guidance as early as next week, and we remain committed to sharing as much information as we can with our workforce.  Please continue to stay informed, including visiting the DLA Coronavirus website.

I continue to be proud and honored to be your DLA Director; you are truly this agency’s “secret sauce.”  May you and your families stay safe, and my heartfelt thanks for all you have done and continue to do.

WARFIGHTER FIRST!

DARRELL K. WILLIAMS
LTG, USA
Director
Defense Logistics Agency
8725 John J. Kingman Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6221
 

(*Note: This message was issued on March 22, 2020, and may not reflect the most current status for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for the most current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

Many state and local governments are implementing “lock down,” "stay at home," or "shelter in place" orders for citizens and temporary closures of "non-essential" businesses and services to combat the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Some of these states have large numbers of DLA employees. It's critical for our DLA workforce to understand that we are part of the Defense Industrial Base Sector, which has been identified as a Critical Infrastructure Sector by Department of Homeland Security.  This means we perform a mission-essential function for our nation, and our employees who must report to a DLA duty site are exempt from such restrictions. A memorandum from Hon. Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, explains the status of the Defense Industrial Base during this type of emergency.

Even though many DLA employees are teleworking to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 throughout our communities, large numbers of DLA civilian employees, military members, and contractors are still required to report to a DLA duty site to perform mission-critical functions. These functions must continue, not only to support the nation's response to COVID-19, but also to maintain military readiness.  DLA cannot "close," and although COVID-19 may cause us to reduce the number of people reporting to physical worksites, we have an essential job to do for our warfighters and the nation.

DLA is "in the fight" in this war on coronavirus, while also sustaining the support to our warfighters.  Even as most citizens are asked to stay home, many DLA workers will be asked to continue reporting to work to perform these essential functions. We will implement every possible measure to protect our workforce and their families, through enforcing social distancing, maximizing telework, using shift schedules where feasible, increasing efforts to clean and sanitize all DLA workspaces, and ensuring those who are sick stay home.

You will hear more from your chain of command for your particular function and location, but as a member of the DLA team, you are part of the nation's "critical infrastructure," and the nation needs us more than ever right now.

Brad Bunn
Director, DLA Human Resources (J1)
Defense Logistics Agency
 

(*Note: This message was issued on March 16, 2020, and does not reflect the most current status for DLA employees. Please refer to the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page for the most current information on operating status of DLA workplaces, and guidance and protocols for DLA employees who are in the workplace, teleworking, or on weather and safety leave.)

DLA All Hands:  we have all been following the nation’s extraordinary response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and in the past few days, federal government leaders have authorized significant measures to stop the spread of the virus throughout our communities, including restricting travel, implementing social distancing measures, and expanding workplace flexibilities. I want to assure you that DLA has been following these developments closely and is aligned with the Department of Defense in ensuring we protect our most valuable asset: our people and their families. This change in posture means that we will take all necessary actions to minimize the possibility of the spread of COVID-19. As DLA continues to execute our mission essential functions in support of the Military Services, Combatant Commands, and other customers, I am directing the following measures, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020:

Maximizing Telework:

  • All telework-ready DLA civilian employees are authorized to situationally telework until further notice.  Employees should contact their supervisors to discuss their intent to situationally telework, to include impact on mission essential and customer support functions, and continue making daily supervisory contact to receive any further guidance and work assignments.
  • Military members are authorized to telework and should consult with their supervisors on their status.  Military members are subject to local leave only, which is defined as a three (3) hour recall. 
  • Employees eligible for telework but not on an approved agreement are encouraged to sign up for a situational telework agreement.  I am directing DLA Human Resources to grant exceptions to policy for certain eligibility requirements in order to maximize our telework-ready workforce.
  • Telework-ready means the employee occupies a telework-eligible position, the employee is on an active telework agreement (either regular/recurring or situational) and has the necessary equipment and work to do from their alternate worksite (i.e. home).  
  • Teleworking employees may be subject to recall to the duty site if they perform mission essential functions requiring onsite presence.
     

Weather & Safety Administrative Leave for Higher Risk Populations:

  • Employees not eligible for telework and who self-identify as being at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19, including older adults and individuals who have chronic health conditions, (*Note: Information on high-risk populations continues to evolve. Please see CDC's latest guidelines on this population.) such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or compromised immune systems and pregnant women may request Weather & Safety Leave, a type of administrative leave for excused absences with no charge to annual leave.
  • Supervisors do not need to require certification by a medical professional and may accept self-identification by employees that they are in one of these populations.  In considering requests for this administrative leave, supervisors will consider the mission-critical nature of the employees’ work.
     

Social Distancing 

  • Employees reporting to work must practice social distancing.  Social distancing means actions taken to reduce the probability of contact between persons to minimize transmission of a highly-contagious illness. This includes limiting non-essential contact with others and taking steps to maintain a distance of six feet from others when possible.
  • Meetings should be conducted virtually to the greatest extent possible, and the number of people in physical meeting rooms should be limited in order to carry out the six feet social distancing policy.
  • All DLA-sponsored large gatherings (e.g., in-person town halls) will be canceled, postponed, or accomplished through virtual means.
  • Please look for alerts from your installation leadership on measures being taken for common areas, including cafeterias, fitness facilities, and general purpose meeting spaces.
     

Travel Restrictions

In accordance with recent Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) policy memos, all non-essential travel is cancelled through May 11, 2020.  Mission essential travel must be approved by Commanders or Deputy Commanders, and comply with OSD travel restriction guidance.
 

What You Should Do

  • Stay informed.  Check the DLA website frequently, as we’ll be updating it as the situation evolves.
  • Follow guidance provided by the CDC:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Stay home when you are sick and follow CDC guidance
  • Communicate with your supervisor.  If you have been advised by your health care provider or if you meet CDC criteria for quarantine or “stay at home” with self-monitoring, please inform your supervisor so we can ensure you are carried in the appropriate leave or duty status.  Provide your supervisor with contact information (telephone, email, etc.) in the event we need to contact you during off-duty hours.
  • For those teleworking, ensure you are “telework-ready,” have a current telework agreement; have technology that allows you to telework, such as a DLA laptop or personal computer, an internet connection, and access to the DLA network; and sufficient productive work available in consultation with your supervisor. Telework-ready employees should communicate daily with their supervisors on their status and assigned duties and accomplishments.  
  • If you are not telework-ready and wish to telework, speak to your supervisor about how to meet the requirements.
     

If you have questions, please review the guidance and FAQ on the DLA coronavirus webpage and your chain of command.

If you are DLA employee in a unique situation or do not see your issue addressed in the FAQ, send your question to askhr@dla.mil.

I realize this is an unusual and constantly evolving situation, and I appreciate your patience and resilience, as well as your dedication to continuing to serve our valuable customers while also taking steps to prevent spread of COVID-19.  We’ll be providing more updates as the situation evolves.

MAXIMUM SAFETY….WARFIGHTER FIRST!

DARRELL K. WILLIAMS
LTG, USA
Director
Defense Logistics Agency
8725 John J. Kingman Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6221