The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support subsistence supply chain gained some new four-legged military customers recently with the addition of a single item to its catalogue: dog food.
The new contract will serve military working dogs, as well as many fire rescue dogs working in the U.S. Forest Service, Jacob Slotnick, Food Service Equipment branch chief, said.
Slotnick’s team awarded a one-year contract June 26 for the purchase of high-energy dog food with a maximum value of $650,000.
“This is one of the aspects of warfighter support we weren’t really thinking of,” Slotnick said. “But it seems to be a very high-demand item.”
Dog food, along with 10 other items, was added to the subsistence lineup as part of a U.S. General Services Administration logistical transfer. In total, DLA Troop Support took on more than 5,000 items previously managed by GSA, Nancy Smisko, DLA Troop Support customer support liaison, said.
Since most of the items transferred to DLA Troop Support Subsistence fell under the food service equipment category, Slotnick said, it made sense for his branch to handle this procurement as well.
“We were putting together all of the contracts for these GSA transfer items,” he said. “The way GSA was purchasing dog food was very similar to the method we normally employ for our food service equipment.”
But that’s where the similarities end, said Carrie McKendry, the contract specialist who put together the initial solicitation. She said there were many challenges with the dog food purchase, starting with the item specifications, which required sole source procurement.
“This is a 50-pound bag of high-energy dog food; a specific formula,” she said. “This specific formula isn’t even sold in 50-pound bags on the commercial market.”
McKendry said the manufacturer only provides the item for special customers, like the military and police departments, making market research and price comparisons difficult.
Luckily, she said, past pricing information was available through the previous GSA contract.
Slotnick said another challenge was conducting that research in such a short time period. Officials needed something in place quickly to cover customer needs.
He said the solicitation was issued June 4, awarded June 26, and within days the team had received and filled its first order.
“I’m happy to say that all unfilled orders have been filled, and we have sufficient stock on hand,” Slotnick said.
McKendry added that she sees this as a way to serve all of warfighters, K-9’s included.
“I was excited to get the item,” she said. “We always talk about doing full service support for the Soldiers, and this is another way to support them.”
An Air Force military working dog handler gives Batty, his military working dog during a training session at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dog food is one of the more than 5,000 new items DLA Troop Support gained from the U.S. General Services Administration as part of a logistics transfer. Air Force photo by Steve Kotecki