Photo Information

A convoy of U.S. Marine Corps mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles drives down a road near Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, March 5, 2011. More than 50 Marines assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 returned to Camp Leatherneck after completing an independent convoy to Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha H. Arrington

Communications key to providing Marines effective logistics support

10 Mar 2011 | Jonathan Stack

Effective communications are just as important for Marines engaging extremists as they are for those communicating with their support elements, and they are vital in ensuring the Defense Logistics Agency keeps the Marine Corps prepared to fight.

Michael Brletich, Marine Corps deputy national account manager for DLA said they have a solid relationship with the Marine Corps and work closely with each other.

Ensuring communications flow is always a challenge, he added. Marines are on the front lines and focused on operations, and DLA Logistics Operations’ Marine Corps Service Team must make sure there is constant communication.

“We make sure that the Marine Corps knows what capabilities we bring to the fight, how to leverage those capabilities and how DLA can support them. Close and regular communication is the key to effective support,” said Brletich.

As America’s combat logistics support agency, DLA provides the Marine Corps with logistics, acquisition and technical services. The agency sources and provides nearly 100 percent of consumable items Marines need to operate, and the Marine Corps Service Team communicates with the service’s leaders to ensure their needs are met.

The Marine Corps Service Team acts as a conduit between DLA and the Marine Corps, ensuring Marines’ interests are represented and their requirements are communicated within DLA.

“We’re deeply engaged with the Marine Corps on a day-to-day basis, with all the major commands like Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Corps Logistics Command, Marine Corps Systems Command and most importantly the Marines in theater fighting the fight in Afghanistan,” Brletich said.

The Marine Corps Service Team makes sure that DLA understands what the Marine Corps’ requirements are and that those requirements are satisfied, he said.

“If there are any issues with the support we provide, we make sure those issues are addressed and resolved at the right levels as responsively as possible,” he said.

The team serves as the face of DLA to its customers and has four customer service representatives forward-positioned with Marine Corps major commands.

“CSRs are really our first line of defense,” Brletich said. “They are the folks on the ground with the very people we are supporting.”

The CSRs are embedded with the customers and most closely know what the issues and requirements are. They communicate those requirements to the larger DLA enterprise.

Another way the Marine Corps Service Team communicates with its service counterparts is by educating them about the team’s mission and capabilities.

“A lot of our customers don’t fully understand DLA’s role in supporting the Marine Corps,” said Marine Corps Master Sgt. Derrick Washington, DLA Marine Corps readiness material superintendant.

Brletich, who has been on DLA’s Marine Corps team nearly six years, said there is a lack of awareness about what DLA brings to the fight and how to best use those capabilities. That is one of the reasons team members travel to the Marine Corps’ service schools and educate warfighters about who they are and what they do to help Marines accomplish their missions.

“The more we educate our customers, the better we can support them,” he said.

Team members provide information to places like Pennsylvania State University, where there is a Marine Corps logistics education program, twice a year. The team also visits the tactical and advanced logistics operations courses at Quantico, Va., and briefs the Joint Logistics Course at Fort Lee, Va.

The Marine Corps service team also hosts several conferences throughout the year.

“There is a quarterly partnership council meeting where senior logisticians and leaders from DLA and the Marine Corps get together for a one-day conference to discuss the issues,” Brletich said. “Both organizations candidly put issues on the table and work together to develop solutions for the way ahead.”

DLA also conducts an annual Marine Corps/DLA Day conference, which is the biggest event the team participates in each year. The conference is designed to bring senior logisticians from throughout the Marine Corps and DLA together to discuss strategic-level issues of importance to both organizations. It is hosted by DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Alan Thompson.

“We also visit both the Marine expeditionary forces to conduct pre- and post-deployment site visits with commanders and Marines who are about to deploy or just returned from deployment,” Washington said.

Team members will travel to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., in the near future to brief 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force on DLA’s concept of operations and DLA support team capabilities in Afghanistan.

“It’s a daily effort from many different directions, but it’s all about making sure at the end of the day Marines understand what DLA brings to the fight and how they can leverage those capabilities,” Brletich said.

Headquarters Marine Corps