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Getting to a win-win with the Department of Defense

Who says you can’t change for the better what has been considered to be best practices by the U.S. government for the past 30 years? Here’s how a 4PL formed a public/private partnership to improve the supply chain to Diego Garcia.

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the May-June 2021 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

May-June 2021

Indulge me for a minute, while I lead a cheer for our profession. I wrote my column for the January 2021 issue of SCMR one Sunday morning after watching the first trucks full of vaccine roll out of a Pfizer plant in Michigan, headed for a UPS sortation depot. I felt an incredible sense of optimism for the country, and pride in the role that we, as supply chain managers, were going to play to combat a pandemic. Supply chain as in the spotlight, and on that morning, it was for all the right reasons. Fast forward to late April 2021.
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What better gig could any supply chain professional want—supplying an island paradise with a nearly guaranteed flow of a limited number of SKUs at regular intervals using a well-established sea carrier? Furthermore, the contract pays a bonus for cost reductions and service improvements. That said, don’t be fooled by the cool ocean breeze.

To begin, the U.S./British island paradise is Diego Garcia, situated more than 1,000 miles from the closest land mass (India), 2,100 miles from Tanzania, and almost 10,000 miles from HQ in Washington D.C. And, well, it’s a desert island—talk about working remote.

Between 2,500 and 5,000 U.S. troops live on the island, which features a 12,000 foot runway that accommodates any aircraft in the Department of Defense’s air fleet. A notable naval fleet also calls the island home. In other words, the island can deploy U.S. fighting resources in a very short period of time to an area of conflict on the other side of the world from the Pentagon. About now the strategic importance of the island and its supply chain snaps into focus.

Fortunately, this is not a one off. Many U.S. bases around the world are managed by civilian companies, called base operating support (BOS). This is a form of public/private partnerships (PPPs). A PPP is an arrangement between a U.S. federal contracting agency representing the military and a privately owned company, where the privately owned company performs activities to support military operations. It is estimated that 40% or more of all overseas DoD bases are managed through the BOS concept. And its practices have been in place for more than 30 years.

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Sorry, but your login has failed. Please recheck your login information and resubmit. If your subscription has expired, renew here.

From the May-June 2021 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

May-June 2021

Indulge me for a minute, while I lead a cheer for our profession. I wrote my column for the January 2021 issue of SCMR one Sunday morning after watching the first trucks full of vaccine roll out of a Pfizer plant in…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the May-June 2021 issue.

What better gig could any supply chain professional want—supplying an island paradise with a nearly guaranteed flow of a limited number of SKUs at regular intervals using a well-established sea carrier? Furthermore, the contract pays a bonus for cost reductions and service improvements. That said, don’t be fooled by the cool ocean breeze.

To begin, the U.S./British island paradise is Diego Garcia, situated more than 1,000 miles from the closest land mass (India), 2,100 miles from Tanzania, and almost 10,000 miles from HQ in Washington D.C. And, well, it’s a desert island—talk about working remote.

Between 2,500 and 5,000 U.S. troops live on the island, which features a 12,000 foot runway that accommodates any aircraft in the Department of Defense’s air fleet. A notable naval fleet also calls the island home. In other words, the island can deploy U.S. fighting resources in a very short period of time to an area of conflict on the other side of the world from the Pentagon. About now the strategic importance of the island and its supply chain snaps into focus.

Fortunately, this is not a one off. Many U.S. bases around the world are managed by civilian companies, called base operating support (BOS). This is a form of public/private partnerships (PPPs). A PPP is an arrangement between a U.S. federal contracting agency representing the military and a privately owned company, where the privately owned company performs activities to support military operations. It is estimated that 40% or more of all overseas DoD bases are managed through the BOS concept. And its practices have been in place for more than 30 years.

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