Defense Logistics Agency Logistics Operations team members gained insight into and planned support strategies for the National Interagency Fire Center earlier this month during a visit to Boise, Idaho.
In an effort to eliminate duplicate efforts between the two organizations, GSA recently transferred responsibility for managing more than 5,000 items to DLA, said David Kless, DLA Logistics Operations’ national account manager for Federal and International Programs. In the first phase, 480 types of items were transferred to DLA May 1, to include 288 types of inventory that directly supports the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in support of the Wildland Fire Protection Program. These items include medical supplies, firefighting tools and protective gear.
Army Col. Eric Sloughfy, chief of DLA’s Joint Logistics Operation Center, said the June 9-10 trip provided an opportunity to understand the organization’s logistical requirements and tour NFIC’s facilities, including the National Interagency Coordination Center.
“The intent of our trip was to go out and meet the customer,” Sloughfy said. “We’re going to be receptive and responsive, and we’re going to meet our new customer’s needs.” Kless added that the meeting was crucial to planning a formula for success.
“Other federal agencies have internal policies that differ from those of the Defense Department, so making the cultural translation will have its challenges,” Kless said. “Meeting with the Forest Service gives us a much better appreciation of how they operate, ensuring we understand their business and meet all expectations.”
Sloughfy said that DLA’s partnership with NFIC is an ideal match because DLA provides 24/7 support through its Customer Interaction Center and Joint Logistics Operations Center to respond to emergencies quicker as well as to assist with monitoring high-priority requisitions.
Kless said that while the partnership is just beginning, he sees it as the start of a long and beneficial relationship for both organizations, making best use of DLA’s capabilities to ensure more than 32,000 firefighters can successfully accomplish their mission.
“People see the word ‘defense’ in our name and assume that’s the only sector we deal with,” Kless said. “Our logistics support capabilities are not just unique to the military.
NFIC had four requirements for its support from DLA:
– Customer service.
– Low cost.
– Continuity of service.
– The ability to support local and state governments.
Sloughfy said he believes DLA’s capabilities and its workforce make it the ideal candidate for the job.
“We are known for being focused on the warfighter,” he said. “We view this new customer as the U.S.-based warfighter; we are providing the same level of support to them that we provide to our military customers around the world.
Kless agreed, adding that while the customer might be different, the mission is the same.
“I think this is a good fit, and I see a strong partnership,” Kless said. “We’re going to give them the same level of support as we give our military.”
Paul Naman, chief of site and facilities maintenance at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, shows DLA employees a parachute used by firefighters to fight wildfires. DLA recently took charge of providing more than 288 types of items that support the Wild Land Fire Protection Program. Courtesy photo
Paul Naman, chief of site and facilities maintenance at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reviews an axe used by firefighters for battling wildfires. DLA recently took charge of providing more than 288 types of items that support the Wild Land Fire Protection Program. Courtesy photo
Guy Beougher (left), executive director of DLA Logistics Operations, and David Kless (center), national account manager for International and Federal Programs, are briefed by Mike Tuominen, acting division chief of the National Interagency Communications Division about various items used by the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. Courtesy photo