Defense Logistics Agency Improves Support While Downsizing
Defense Logistics Agency
Improves Support While Downsizing
By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– June 12, 2014 – The Defense Logistics Agency is downsizing as the U.S.
military reduces its role in overseas conflicts and operations, the agency’s
director said today.
Through fiscal year 2019, DLA is going to have less people,
infrastructure, inventory, as well as a smaller financial footprint, Navy Vice
Adm. Mark D. Harnitchek told the Defense Writers’ Group, a trend that is
inevitable with a shrinking military.
“If the department’s budget is less by 30 percent, I have to
be less by 30 percent,” Harnitchek said. “We have to be ready to significantly
improve support at a whole lot less cost.”
The agency, a $40 billion enterprise, has a goal of taking
$13 billion out of the cost of material and operations by fiscal 2019.
Meanwhile, DLA is reducing its inventory and “right-sizing”
the infrastructure needed to manage it. “Over the past two years, we have taken
about $5 [billion] of our $15 billion inventory out of the system -- stuff we
don’t need or excess to our needs,” Harnitchek said. “There is a like-amount of
downward pressure in the infrastructure that we house that material in.”
The agency also has scrapped its World War II-vintage
warehouse model. “With the inventory out, we’ve taken the equivalent of 45
football fields of covered storage out,” the admiral said. “We are looking at
the models here that tell us how much to keep and how long to keep it.”
Harnitchek said DLA is achieving more efficiency from its
inventory, now one-third smaller than it was two years ago. “That’s because of
the relentless focus on basic business ‘blocking and tackling’ and contract
execution -- buy enough, buy on time and make sure the contractor delivers,” he
Yet, the agency needs to be ready for any eventuality, the admiral said. “There
is an arc of instability that goes from Central Asia through the Middle East
into North Africa and the trans-Sahara,” he said. “We need to be ready all the
time, and we need to be quick.”
Harnitchek said keeping military forces supplied is what
dominates his discussions with combatant commanders. “We don’t talk about
whether we have enough lumber or fuel,” he said. “It’s all about, ‘Can I get the
stuff there?’ The big challenge for a logistician looking ahead is access and
DLA and U.S. Transportation Command work closely together and
that will continue, Harnitchek said.
“Whether it’s a steak that is sourced out of Sysco here in
the western part of the state or it’s eggs we’re buying in Latvia to make
omelets in Afghanistan, Transcom moves that,” he said. “I buy it. I figure out
where to source it from and then we give it to Transcom and they put it in the
Defense Transportation System and they move it.”
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Navy Vice Adm. Mark D. Harnitchek
Defense Logistics Agency