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DLA Creates J–4
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DLA Creates J–4

The Defense Logistics Agency has established a new directorate to improve its support to the services. One result will be a stronger partnership with Army logisticians.

The “shock and awe” that characterized the race to Baghdad in Operation Iraqi Freedom can be related directly to our Nation’s logistics prowess. The unified efforts achieved by Army and Department of Defense (DOD) logisticians in support of Army forces on the ground in Southwest Asia certainly were key to ousting the regime of Saddam Hussein.

As Operation Iraqi Freedom unfolded, dynamic shifts in the battlespace and evolving geopolitical goals created new challenges throughout our logistics network. From the factory to the foxhole, Army and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) logisticians worked in tandem to meet a surge in battlefield requirements that strained the U.S. industrial base and highlighted pitfalls in our in-transit visibility and distribution capabilities.

Tacticians predict that future conflicts will be marked, like Iraqi Freedom, by rapidly changing task organizations and widely dispersed logistics and combat operations. Austere conditions and a fragmented distribution structure with no single point of authority will continue to stress our ability to collectively sustain our fighting forces. The result of all of these factors will be a mandate to form greater alliances throughout DOD.

In both Afghanistan and Iraq, when shortfalls occurred and the execution of logistics plans failed to follow doctrine, particularly in the “last tactical mile,” it was the innovative soldier who proved vital in achieving operational success. Since Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom began, the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) has been designated DOD’s Distribution Process Owner. TRANSCOM has partnered with DLA, the Army, and other logistics stakeholders to work on initiatives that address the weaknesses in the “last tactical mile” and other intheater transportation and distribution issues. DLA and the Army continue to develop partnerships and have developed missions and goals that will enhance their logistics interoperability.

Army Logistics Transformation

The DLA Strategic Plan directly supports the Army G–4 White Paper published in October 2003. This paper highlights four focus areas at the top of the Army’s logistics priorities: connect Army logisticians, modernize theater distribution, improve force reception, and integrate the supply chain. Ultimately what this means for the Army is improved requirements determination; true end-to-end supply chain distribution; more effective DLA and Army collaboration; more efficient operations architecture and fiscal execution; and a fully integrated information management system. To demonstrate its commitment to helping the Army define and implement its logistics transformation, DLA has established a Customer Operations and Readiness Directorate (J–4).

DLA Reorganization

In June 2003, Vice Admiral Keith Lippert, the Director of DLA, made the decision to stand up the new J–4 organization to “align the agency’s customer support strategies with the warfighter.” The J–4 vision is to ensure that customers’ voices are heard and that DLA acts as an advocate for the Army and the other services, not just as a manager of transactions. This advocacy role will ensure that customers are served effectively; it also will drive change, ensuring that DLA continuously adapts to meet the customers’ needs.

Lippert stated, “We will build value for the warfighter by establishing mutually rewarding customer relationships, anticipate requirements, and ensure customer focus throughout DLA.” The J–4 will engage customers around the world and will maximize readiness and logistics combat power by leveraging an enterprise solution. Although the J–4 will be the DLA’s “face” to the customer, the shift to customer relations management is an agency-wide initiative that will result in major benefits to the Army. The key functions of the J–4 will include customer operations, performance measurement, and program support.

Account Managers

The new J–4 includes military service teams that consist of senior military and civilian personnel who engage their assigned service proactively at every level. Each military team is led by a national account manager (NAM). The NAM is a senior military officer who serves as the primary manager dedicated to providing logistics support to his assigned service and that service’s full range of weapon systems.

Colonel Bill Taylor, the Army NAM, is responsible for working at the Army G–4 and Army Materiel Command levels to dovetail DLA and Army readiness and support initiatives. He recently stated, “Our goal is to ensure that the Army’s weapon systems exceed established readiness goals and that the soldier receives what he needs, when and where he needs it, on time, every time.” The Army NAM and his staff serve as the “eyes and ears” for DLA, interfacing and collaborating with senior Army representatives to resolve DLA and Army logistics issues that affect military and national security objectives. They participate in weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings and forums to interface with the Army’s senior logisticians to plan and assess the Army’s needs and support requirements as well as to facilitate collaboration with the customer as required.

An Army Materiel Command liaison officer and a senior Army National Guard representative are on the Army NAM’s staff, and plans are being developed to place a DLA representative within the Army G–4. Customer account managers have been established for the headquarters of AMC, the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), and the Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). They serve in a strategic capacity as DLA’s technical managers for logistics support to the Army. Other initiatives are underway to integrate training on DLA products and services within the Quartermaster, Ordnance, and other Army logistics schools.

Customer Support Representatives

The Army NAM has over 30 customer support representatives (CSRs) located at AMC headquarters, AMC’s major subordinate commands and depots, TRADOC and FORSCOM headquarters, and various FORSCOM installations, including the National Training Center. The J–4 also has positioned CSRs throughout the European, Pacific, and Southwest Asia theaters, liaison officers with the combatant commanders, and DLA contingency support teams within theaters of operations. Through these customer touch points, DLA can better determine customer requirements, educate Army logisticians, and quickly resolve support issues.
DLA representatives attend Army G–4 logistics operations meetings on a regular basis and numerous video- and teleconferences in order to gain intelligence about DLA’s current and future support operations. The CSRs work with Army commanders at every level to ensure that they have what they need to train their units adequately or to deploy those units into combat. DLA also participates in the Army’s Strategic Readiness Review and the Army Strategic Readiness Update to the Chief of Staff of the Army to provide assessment and analysis of DLA’s support to the Army and determine future requirements.

Performance-Based Agreements

Following the establishment of DLA’s new J–4, each service signed a performance-based agreement (PBA). This agreement describes measurable services, performance levels, and customer-focused metrics that are based on customer requirements and expectations. Vice Admiral Lippert and the Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4, Lieutenant General C.V. Christianson, signed the Army-DLA PBA on 5 December 2003.

The PBA established a collaborative partnership between the Army and DLA to support Army readiness. The PBA supports Force-Centric Logistics Enterprise objectives such as end-to-end distribution, performance-based logistics, and total life-cycle management support. The Army-DLA PBA establishes a framework for cooperation to improve DLA support to the Army and establishes a Partnership Agreement Council comprising Army and DLA members. This council will meet quarterly to determine targets of opportunity for action, establish or adjust metrics as required, and measure improvements.

As the Army continues to transform to a more logistically efficient and rapidly deployable force, DLA will be there to help. Together, DLA and the Army will build and sustain a distribution-based logistics system with the capability and agility to ensure warfighter readiness and materiel availability, anytime, anywhere. To that end, we are making progress every day, and, in good Army fashion, we say HOOAH!

Colonel William H. (Bill) Taylor III is the Army National Account Manager, J–4, Defense Logistics Agency, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He has a B.S. degree from Virginia State University, a master’s degree in logistics management from Central Michigan University, and a master’s degree in national resource strategy from the National Defense University. He is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Army Logistics Management College’s Logistics Executive Development Course, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Chief Warrant Officer (W–4) Eddie Murphy is the Army Readiness Officer at the Defense Logistics Agency at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

DLA Creates J–4
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