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Defense Agency Prepared for 2006 Hurricane Season Support

American Forces Press Service

FORT BELVOIR, Va., April 17, 2006 – Following an unprecedented domestic disaster relief effort in 2005, Defense Logistics Agency officials here say DLA is ready to provide support during the 2006 hurricane season, which begins June 1.

A recently completed agencywide review of DLA's response to domestic disasters in 2005 was an opportunity for the headquarters and field activities staff to assess agency support, evaluate actions necessary to improve that support -- which cost the agency $476.6 million -- and to be prepared for similar missions in 2006, officials said.

To ensure effective relief support during the upcoming hurricane season, DLA co-hosted a domestic disaster response logistics working group meeting last week in Springfield, Va., along with several top-level Pentagon organizations: the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense; and the Joint Staff Logistics Directorate.

The working group participants included U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Transportation Command, the National Guard Bureau, Army Materiel Command and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The meeting focused on the synchronization of ongoing logistics preparation for domestic disasters.

"This was the second of several partnering efforts to ensure we are poised to provide support in the event of a domestic disaster," said Col. Eric Smith, chief of the DLA Logistics Operations Center.

DLA's preparations for 2006 disaster relief efforts included the following:

  • Signing an interagency agreement with FEMA, resulting in sales of $67 million and allowing for advance coordination between the agencies.
  • Agreements worked out by the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, a DLA field activity, with suppliers to provide commercial meals quickly in the event of a disaster. Commercial meals are better matched to the general population's nutritional and caloric requirements than military rations are, officials said.
  • DLA storage and management of 3 million military ration meals purchased by FEMA to provide an interim feeding solution until alternative meals are delivered by commercial sources.
  • The Defense Distribution Center, a DLA field activity, reviewed "first to go" stocks and is redistributing them to facilitate more rapid response to disaster sites. This effort is ongoing throughout April and is expected to be completed by May 1. This is being undertaken to complement FEMA's Scaled Disaster Response Plan Requirement.
  • Deployable Distribution Depot will be capable of deploying an initial operating capability that can receive, store, issue and maintain in-transit visibility and positive asset control of relief commodities. The concept is to provide distribution services for 200,000 persons per day. DDC is assembling and training the work force to support this initiative.
  • DDC will ensure all shipments remain visible during transit by aggressively pursuing their Web-based monitoring. This effort has been coordinated with NORTHCOM, FEMA and TRANSCOM. In addition, a color-coded placard system will be used on each shipment to enable quick visual identification of the types of commodity being shipped.

"These efforts are a result of the challenges faced during the 2005 hurricane season," added Smith.

DLA provides supply support, and technical and logistics services to the military services and to several civilian agencies. The agency is the one source for nearly every consumable item, whether for combat readiness, emergency preparedness or day-to-day operations.

(Based on a Defense Logistics Agency news release.)

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