News: DLA, Coast Guard officials meet to strengthen partnership
Story by Sara Moore
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - Expanding the partnership between the Defense Logistics Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard is something that will benefit both organizations as federal agencies strive to improve efficiency and effectiveness, leaders from both organizations said Nov. 30.
The DLA and U.S. Coast Guard Executive Level Review at the McNamara Headquarters Complex gave leaders a chance to discuss the continuing partnership between the two organizations and plans for future support.
“This is an important session for us today,” Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dowd, director of DLA Logistics Operations, said at the opening of the meeting. “I want to learn a lot more about what the Coast Guard is doing and how we at DLA can support your team a little better.”
DLA has been supporting the Coast Guard in several areas, most notably energy procurement support and engineering support, for several years, but is looking for ways to expand that support as the Coast Guard modernizes its fleet and looks for cost savings. DLA has four existing agreements with the Coast Guard covering energy procurement and engineering support, as well as an interagency agreement and a performance-based agreement for joint cataloging and provisioning services. The agency is working with the Coast Guard on an overarching performance-based agreement that would cover such metrics as material availability, perfect order fulfillment, logistics response time and customer wait time.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed with the growing and strengthening of our partnership,” Coast Guard Rear Adm. Ronald Rabago, assistant commandant for engineering and logistics, said. “Not only are we doing some things that we have done in the past and doing more of those things, but we are actually looking at new areas.”
Rabago noted that as time has gone on, he has seen the benefit of doing business with DLA grow as the agency’s operations have become more efficient and encompassed more areas. The Coast Guard is facing many challenges as it seeks to rebuild and modernize its force, Rabago said, including an aging fleet, a new logistics information system, rising energy costs, environmental concerns. In areas that DLA has expertise, it makes sense to seek more support so Coast Guard personnel can focus on their essential missions and use resources efficiently, he said.
“In the current climate that we’re in with budget constraints, we have a real obligation to look and see how we might be able to be more efficient and more effective as entities of the federal government and work together better,” he said.
In fiscal 2012, DLA made more than $285 million worth of sales to the Coast Guard. More than $211 million of that was energy procurement, and the rest was consumable items across the other supply chains, said David Kless, national account manager for international and federal programs in DLA Logistics Operations. Traditionally, DLA has managed for the Coast Guard consumable items common to all the military services, Kless said, but the agency is working with the service to expand that support and manage its unique consumable items as well. On Nov. 1, after going through an extensive process with the Coast Guard, DLA took over management of all the consumable items for the Coast Guard’s 87-foot coastal patrol boats, which are the service’s largest population of vessels. The transfer included 151 items that are unique to the Coast Guard and were formerly managed by the service, he said.
DLA is now working with the Coast Guard to evaluate transferring management of consumable items for other vessels and platforms, Kless said. The two organizations are also working on expanding support in other areas, like document services, disposition services, procurement of new repairable items, warehousing, hazardous material management, training and performance-based logistics.
Coast Guard leaders see many areas in which they can increase cost effectiveness and improve quality by working with DLA, Rabago said. In addition to these cost-savings, he said, working with DLA offers the service other benefits, like flexibility within contracts. He cited the example of disaster response to Hurricane Sandy, when the urgent need for fuel required quick action. Working with DLA, the Coast Guard was able to meet those requirements through one-time buys and other means, he said, whereas working with a commercial vendor would have restricted the options.
“You guys are running a really top-notch, mission effective organization,” Rabago said. “I’m looking forward to finding new ways that we might work well together and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”