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Leadership Messages


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

 

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

 

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