Defense Logistics Agency Works to Bring Fresher Food to U.S. Warfighters in Afghanistan
PHILADELPHIA, March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Europe & Africa personnel in Afghanistan have helped improve food and beverage delivery and quality for warfighters and saved taxpayers millions in transportation costs, a DLA food service supervisor said.
Todd Lutz said locating a second distribution center, known as the Helmand Regional Distribution Center, in the Helmand province reduced perishable food transportation time by two to four days for each of the 3,750 average monthly shipments. Having two distribution centers also helped the vendor shift transportation methods from air to road.
Shorter distances to U.S. warfighter sites and the lower cost-per-mile of ground transportation decreased transportation costs by about $28 million yearly, Lutz estimated.
The food distribution center in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, is about 350 miles from the HRDC and was previously the only one in eastern Afghanistan, Lutz noted.
Lutz estimated the HRDC serves about 37 percent of warfighter locations in Afghanistan.
Tim Schmidt, lead DLA Troop Support Europe & Africa contracting officer representative at the Kabul food storage facility, said the agency's efforts help develop sustainable, desirable Afghan businesses that support U.S. warfighters.
The prime vendor contracts for locally bottled water and canned soda have employed hundreds of Afghans who produce and transport the products. Lutz said this contract supports the mission of the International Security and Assistance Force, which is to assist the Afghan government in establishing of a secure and stable environment.
"The vendor understands and supports the political and economic imperative of ISAF to develop sovereign capability," Lutz stated.
"Security doesn't always come in the form of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles or Humvees, sometimes it comes from the loyalty of individuals to whom you've provided the means to provide for their families," Schmidt said.
Indirect benefits for warfighters include improving the climate between Afghans and Americans, Schmidt said.
"It's been my experience that treating Afghans well, in part by giving them employment opportunities to deliver food and water under our vendor's contracts, is reciprocated by them in kind," Schmidt concluded.
As a Department of Defense combat support agency, DLA provides the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies, and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services. The agency sources and provides nearly 100 percent of the consumable items America's military forces need to operate, from food, fuel and energy, to uniforms, medical supplies, and construction and barrier equipment. DLA also supplies more than 80 percent of the military's spare parts.
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., DLA has about 27,000 employees worldwide and supports more than 2,178 weapon systems. For more information about DLA, go to www.dla.mil, www.facebook.com/dla.mil or http://twitter.com/dlamil.
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