DLA brings fresher food to troops in Afghanistan

Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) 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 foodservice supervisor said.

Todd Lutz said locating a second distribution center, known as the Helmand Regional Distribution Center (HRDC), 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 US warfighter sites and the lower cost-per-mile of ground transportation decreased transportation costs by about $28 million yearly, Lutz said.

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 said.

He estimated the HRDC serves about 37% 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 US warfighters.

“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, he 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 said.

As a US 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% of consumable items America’s military forces need to operate, including food, fuel, energy, uniforms, medical supplies, and construction and barrier equipment. DLA also supplies more than 80% of the military’s spare parts.

Headquartered at Fort Belvoir VA, the agency has about 27,000 employees worldwide and supports more than 2,178 weapon systems. For more information, go to www.dla.mil.

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