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The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is the largest agency within the Department of Defense (DOD) and is headquartered at Fort Bevoir, Va. DLA is represented in 48 states (not in Vermont and Iowa) and 28 countries. DLA provides support as well as technical and logistic services to the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and several federal agencies. The DLA has supported every war in the past four decades, from the Vietnam War to the Operation Iraqi Freedom. The DLA is in charge of almost every consumable item, everything from combat readiness, emergency preparedness and day-to-day operations inside DOD.

DLA supplies almost every consumable item America’s military services need to operate; food, clothing, equipment and jet fuel.
DLA’s Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) is responsible for the reuse, or reutilization, of excess and surplus material and equipment that is no longer needed within the Department of Defense.

On August 31, 1961, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara announced the establishment of a separate common supply and service agency, the Defense Supply Agency (DSA). The agency was formally established on October 1, 1961, and the agency’s facilities were located at Cameron Station in Alexandria, Virginia. When the agency began operation on January 1, 1962, DSA controlled six commodity-type and two service- type single managers: Defense Clothing and Textile Supply Center, Philadelphia, PA; Defense Construction Supply Center, Columbus, Ohio; Defense General Supply Center, Richmond, Virginia; Defense Medical Supply Center, Brooklyn, New York; Defense Petroleum Supply Center, Washington, D.C; Defense Subsistence Supply Center, Chicago, Illinois; Defense Traffic Management Service, Washington, D.C; and Defense Logistics Service Center, Washington, D.C. Three additional Supply Centers came under DSA’s control; the Defense Industrial Supply Center in Philadelphia, Pa., the Defense Automotive Supply Center in Detroit, Michigan and the Defense Electronic Supply Center, Dayton, Ohio. Having all theses functions consolidated under the DSA was estimated to save more than $30 million each year and reduce the workforce by 3,300 people.

By July 1, 1962, DSA consisted of 11 Field organizations, employed 16,500 people and managed 45 facilities and by June 1963 the agency was managing over one million different items in nine supply centers and had an estimated inventory of $2.5 billion.  
The DSA’s supply system played a huge role in supporting U.S forces in Vietnam. Between 1965 and 1969 more than 22 million short tons of dry cargo and more than 14 million short tons of bulk petroleum were transported to Vietnam. The agency also became responsible for administering defense contracts - contracts awarded by DSA and by the military services. Officials established the Defense Contract Administration Services (DCAS) within the DSA, which significantly altered the structure of DSA. 
During 1972 and 1973, the agency’s responsibilities extended overseas when it assumed responsibility for defense overseas property, disposal operations and worldwide procurement, management, and distribution of coal and bulk petroleum products. 
An example of the agency’s overseas task occurred during the Middle East crisis in October 1973, when they had to deliver a wide range of military equipment on an urgent basis.
By 1975 the DSA had evolved from an agency solely dedicated to supply operations and administering single manager supply agencies to one almost evenly divided between supply support and logistics services, the eleven DCAS regions were also reduced to nine. The DSA took on a dominant role in logistics functions throughout the Defense Department.         
On January 1, 1977, officials changed the name of the Defense Supply Agency to the Defense Logistics Agency. In 1988 the agency adopted a new mission, by presidential order, when DLA assumed management of the nation’s stockpile of strategic materials from the General Services Administration. In 1989, the military services were directed to transfer one million consumable items to DLA for management.
During the 1990’s the agency’s role in supporting military contingencies and humanitarian assistance operations grew dramatically. DLA lead the effort to support the development of the Middle East and the war during Desert Shield and the following Desert Storm. The agency provided the military services with over $3 billion worth of food, clothing, textiles, medical supplies and weapons system repair parts. As a part of Operation Provide Comfort, DLA continued support efforts in the Middle East long after most U.S forces had redeployed, providing over $68 million of food, clothing and medical supplies designed to aid refugees, mostly Kurds, in Iraq.
In February 2000 the Defense Logistics Agency recently announced a reorganization that is part of a larger plan to prepare itself to provide essential military logistics support for the for troops involved in current conflicts. 
What it Does  

DLA logistics operations (J-3) is responsible for the worldwide logistics support throughout the Department of Defense. The primary focus of J-3 is to support the warfighter in time of war and peace. J-3 is in charge of procurement, management, storage and the distribution of 5.2 million items for U.S military customers, other federal agencies and allied forces. DLA accomplishes these tasks by utilizing support from their Supply Centers, Distribution Center and Service Center. 

DLA has a network of 4 main Supply Centers that purchase and manage a variety of supplies and services which includes; fuel, food, clothing, construction supplies, electronics, medical supplies, distribution and disposal reutilization services.
DLA Service Centers
The Service Centers offer services to customers and the agency also has specialized service centers to assist you with specific logistics needs.
  • Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS)
  • Defense National Stock Pile Service Center
  • Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS)
  • DLA Document Automation and Production Service (DAPS)
  • DLA Enterprise Support (EDES)
DLA Distribution Center
The Distribution Center is headquartered in New Cumberland, PA and receives, stores and issues wholesale and retail material worldwide.
Examples of DLAs support in emergencies and warfare
In October of 2007, when wild fires swept through Southern California, the DLA aided the thousands of evacuees and the Marines and Sailors supporting the wildfire relief efforts. DLA supplied the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with meals-ready-to-eat and supplies that were needed to help evacuees and fight the fires. 

During the holiday season of 2007, the DLA provided U.S troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Dubai and Djibouti with

holiday meals

. Thanksgiving meals items totaled to more than $7 million and Christmas meal items came to $5 million. DLA supplies $12.4 billion worth of food, clothing, textiles, medicines, medical supplies, construction and equipment supplies and services for America’s warfighters, eligible family members and other federal consumers worldwide.


Where Does the Money Go  

DLA has numerous stakeholders and contractors that receive millions of dollars from the DLA each year. The top ten contractors in FY 2006 were:

Public Warehousing Company
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Kuwait Petroleum Corporation
Equilon Enterprises
Korea Agricultural Cooperative
Refinery Associates of Texas
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.
Bahrain Petroleum Company

DLA Top 100 Contractors




Using Old Equipment to Create Artificial Reefs

The DLA’s Reef Exercise program that began in 1994 has created great controversy surrounding the ethics of the program. The Reef Exercise program is based on the DLA constructing “artificial reefs” out of the U.S surplus of military equipment. These vehicles now extend along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts from New York through Louisiana. The DLA is responsible for the disposal of equipment such as, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, ships, etc. One benefit to this disposal, according to the DLA is that, “reefs provide additional or more reliable fishing areas and diving sites for humans.” There is controversy as to whether these artificial reefs actually create benefits for fish and other sea life.


Suggested Reforms  
Congressional Oversight  

House Appropriations Committee

House Armed Services Committee           

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs


Former Directors  

jonas kaye - 4/19/2010 10:25:55 AM              
Dear Sirs: I am writing to the Dept. of Defense Logistics Dept. because I have protocols to do the following 1) build special walking assist that would help the new army back pack 2) a new test for assessing Traumatic Brain Injury patients for improving therapy 3) a new PDA that the army could use in triage areas to improve on the health care. If the agency can put me to work on those, let me know. If the army could put me somewhere else for the above let me know. Thanks. Sincerely, Dr. Jonas Kaye 954 436 8096

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Table of Contents

Founded: 1961
Annual Budget: $47 billion
Employees: 21,000

Defense Logistics Agency
Harnitchek, Mark

Vice Admiral Mark D. Harnitchek became director of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in November 2011. Located in the Defense Department, DLA provides support as well as technical and logistic services to the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and is in charge of almost every consumable item America’s military services need to operate, including food, clothing, equipment and even jet fuel. In recent years it has been the subject of investigations regarding waste and corruption involved with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and former DLA directors, after retiring, have gone to work for the companies did business with while in the armed services. In FY 2011, DLA made a record $46 billion in purchases.

Born circa 1956 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Harnitchek earned a B.A. at Penn State University in 1977 and was commissioned as an ensign through the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps program. In 1987, he earned a Master’s degree in management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
Harnitchek served in a variety of sea tours including on two submarines, USS Will Rogers and USS Buffalo. During these tours, he served as the ship’s diving officer and officer of the deck. He then served on two submarine tenders, USS Holland and USS Proteus, as the assistant supply officer and the supply officer, respectively. Harnitchek also served on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. His shore tours include service as commander of Submarine Group 7 in Yokosuka, Japan; at the Navy Ships Parts Control Center Naval Air Station in Oceana, Va.; and as the chief of naval operations staff.
Harnitchek was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (lower half) in April 2002, and rear admiral (upper half) in April 2005. His flag assignments have included commanding officer at the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia; vice director for logistics at the Joint Staff; director of Strategy, Policy, Programs and Logistics at the U.S. Transportation Command (2006-2009); director of the U. S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom; and deputy commander of the United States Transportation Command (2009-2011).
In 2006 he led the establishment of the Northern Distribution Network to transport supplies into Afghanistan without going through Pakistan. In 2009 he oversaw the Transportation Command’s response to the earthquake in Haiti.
At the 2011 Defense Logistics Conference in Arlington on November 30, Harnitchek reflected on his 34-year involvement with DLA. “When I was coming up, DLA wasn't operating in a true combat support role,” he said. “They were largely about managing inventory and running disposal, which they still do. But since 9/11, they are forward almost like a functional combatant command, doing stuff in a no-kidding combat support role, operating all over the world.” Describing the drawdown in Iraq, he said, “The big thing for DLA in Iraq was making sure that when we were closing all the forward operating bases, that from a distribution and disposal perspective we left them as pristine as they were when we took them…. We processed 300 million pounds of scrap, returned about $100 million worth of items back to the services, and either reutilized, sold, donated or demilitarized and disposed of $27 billion worth of stuff.”
Harnitchek added that supplying troops in Afghanistan is logistically difficult and that it requires special oversight because “we rely exclusively on private industry to deliver our supply chains—food and fuel—to the customer.”
Harnitchek has two children, Gillian and Kyle, from his marriage to Joanne L. (Caruso) Harnitchek, who passed away in December 2002.
BP Contracts with Defense Dept. Surge Since Oil Spill (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
Thompson, Alan
Previous Director

Vice Admiral Alan S. Thompson, a 30-year careerist who has quietly held numerous commands involving supplies for the US Navy, assumed the role of director of the Defense Logistics Agency on November 19, 2008. He is in charge of procuring and distributing to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps a wide variety of products and services, including food, clothing, medical supplies, construction material, spare parts and fuel.

Thompson, who traces his family’s military roots to the Civil War era in Pennsylvania, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics from UCLA, where he received his commission through the Naval ROTC program in 1976. He later earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida and completed the Columbia University Graduate School of Business Senior Executive Program.

Thompson’s ship assignments have included assistant supply officer aboard the destroyer USS David R. Ray (DD 971), and supply officer for the missile destroyer USS Chandler (DDG 996) and the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).

Ashore, he has served at the Naval Supply Systems Command, formerly located at the Naval Aviation Supply Office in Philadelphia; as commander of the Naval Air Force for the US Pacific Fleet at the Naval Air Station in Miramar, CA; and in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).
In July 1998, Thompson was appointed the commanding officer of the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk, the Navy’s largest supply center. Later, he was made chief of the Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group and a CNO Fellow at the Naval War College.
In February 2001, he was promoted from captain to rear admiral. That same year he was assigned as commander of the Defense Supply Center in Columbus, Ohio, for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), serving until 2003. He was then Director of the Supply, Ordnance, and Logistics Operations Division (N41) in the Office of the CNO, and later commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command and Chief of Supply Corps, in Mechanicsburg, PA, from March 2007 until taking over the DLA.
Thompson was promoted to vice admiral and President George W. Bush appointed him director of the DLA in November 2008. In charge of 23,000 civilian and military personnel, Thompson is responsible for providing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and other federal agencies with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services. These services include logistics information, materiel management, procurement, warehousing and distribution of spare parts, food, clothing, medical supplies and fuel, reutilization of surplus military materiel and document automation and production.