The Defense Logistics Agency is implementing a new business strategy to improve its private sector engagement, including holding an industry day in September to begin forecasting supply chain demands for fiscal year 2019.

Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams, speaking at a Thursday event, said DLA’s new plan through 2026 will move the agency to a corporate strategy focused on meeting operational needs for increasingly dispersed forces and making better use of its global supply chain partners.

Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams, director of the Defense Logistics Agency
Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams, director of the Defense Logistics Agency

“When we talk about partnerships, there’s no way we can get it done with [industry],” Williams said at an Association of the United States Army (AUSA) event. “Although we engage with industry at all of our major subordinate commands and at DLA headquarter, what I felt we really needed was a corporate strategy.”

To facilitate the engagement-focused strategy DLA is hosting an invite-only industry day on Sept. 19 at its headquarters in Ft. Belvoir in Virginia, according to Williams.

Industry partners at the event will have access to data collected during an upcoming DLA July forecasting summit. The newly gathered information will be used to collectively address demand patterns across the services and work with senior DLA leadership to inform FY ‘19 objectives.

Williams called increased engagement a critical piece to meeting DoD logistics needs as deployed forces become more dispersed.

DLA is taking advantage of its global partners to deliver solutions as it looks to move from a static supply chain to being a more agile provider, according to Williams.

“That evolution has led us to a point where we are postured to support those much, much more dispersed formations,” Williams said. “In the past, our solutions would likely have come from the United States. They may have come from somewhere else in the region. Though we have now reached a level of agility, thanks in large part to our relationship with commercial industry, that allows us to respond much more globally.”

Williams is also looking to industry for solutions to combat an increasing number of cyber threats to the military supply chain.

“We are working as hard as we can with commercial industry. First of all, we’re taking as many of their innovative ideas as we can possibly get. The second thing is introducing other distribution concepts like direct vendor delivery as opposed to storing everything in our warehouses. We think that we are definitely increasing our agility and decreasing the risk of interruptions to the supply chain,” Williams said. “But I would be less than honest if I told you that it does not remain uppermost in my mind in terms of what DLA has to do for the warfighter.”