Defense Logistics Agency Employees Help Iraqi Soldiers Build an Efficient Logistics System
FORT BELVOIR, Va., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Iraqi army soldiers are learning from the best how to build an efficient national logistics system.
A team of nine experts from various Defense Logistics Agency depots are mentoring Iraqis at the Taji National Supply Depot to receive, store and issue supplies to Iraqi units. The depot is scheduled for transition to full Iraqi control on Dec. 31.
“Since June 2008, our focus has been to progressively get the Iraqis to take over authority and accountability of their logistics and maintenance programs so they’re ready to do things on their own before we pull out,” said Navy Lt. Kirk Engler, deputy chief of the DLA Advisory Team in Taji.
Army Col. Lance Koenig, former chief of the DLA Advisory Team in Taji, said the Iraqi Army was appreciative of DLA’s efforts.
“The advisory team at the Taji National Supply Depot is unique in that it is the first DLA Advisory Team, and the strength and effectiveness of the team is derived from the subject matter experts from across the DLA distribution centers that have volunteered to take on this mission,” said Koenig. “The Iraqi Army has a great amount of respect for these advisors, and the relationship between the team and the Iraqi troops is very strong. Our DLA employees are making a big difference in improving the capability of the Iraqi Army supply depot.”
The DLA team has helped the 130 Iraqi soldiers assigned to the depot conduct 100 percent inventory of about 15,000 line items and helped them implement barcode technology to easily identify and track stock.
“The soldiers saw how barcode scanners allowed them to do inventory in half the time it would have taken if they’d just walked around with pen and paper, which is how they’re used to keeping track of their inventory,” Engler said. “They also realized that with scanners a lot fewer mistakes are made through basic human error, and they don’t have to worry about not being able to read someone’s handwriting.”
In August, Engler and other DLA experts began teaching the Iraqi soldiers how to use the new Iraqi Army Maintenance Program, an information technology system developed by a logistics contractor.
“The main challenge with the Iraqis is their lack of familiarity with technology. This program is a huge leap for them,” Engler said.
Initial IAMP training is being conducted in a train-the-trainer format so the first 30 Iraqi officers receiving the instruction will pass it on to other soldiers.
“So far, this is working well because we had a particularly adept major who caught on really quickly and happened to know a lot about computers. He ended up teaching most of the second class,” Engler said. “It’s a good feeling to see them grasp the information and teach their own guys.”
DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Alan Thompson said the DLA team in Taji has made great strides in helping the Iraqi army establish its own storage and distribution center.
“It is just overwhelming the enthusiasm these guys have for what they’re doing. You can tell what a huge impact they’ve had in helping the Iraqi security forces essentially develop their own sustainment capability,” Thompson said.
As the Department of Defense’s logistics combat support agency, DLA is responsible for providing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies, and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services. These services include procuring and distributing nearly five million items such as rations, medical supplies and equipment, clothing and textiles, repair parts for land, sea and air weapons systems and platforms, construction material, and fuel and energy services.
DLA, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., employs more than 24,000 civilian and military employees, with Fiscal Year 2008 business revenues of $42 billion. For more information, go to www.dla.mil.
SOURCE Defense Logistics Agency