An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

B-2 Support Summit aims to strengthen relations between DLA, Air Force customers

  • Published
  • By Amy Perry, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

To improve communication among Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and some of its Air Force customers, the B-2 Weapon System Program Manager from the Customer Operations Directorate hosted a two-day product support summit March 12-13 at Defense Supply Center Richmond.

The gathering – the first of its kind in at least 20 years for the platform – showed the Air Force customers the support DLA provides, said Keith H. McEachern, B-2 Weapon System Program Manager.

“I facilitated this collective event with the customer to develop cohesion and promote team building with the B-2 customer by offering robust insight into the complete DLA Aviation operations,” he said. “We also showed how DLA Aviation supports the B-2 customer in receiving their most critical weapons system material for their critical mission.”

With the program constantly changing, the B-2 team at DLA felt it was time to meet in person to gain a deeper understanding of the available support.

“This was an eye-opener for our customers,” McEachern said. “Their questions were well received by the DLA parties involved, and they clearly defined the gallant efforts in which DLA will perpetually support the B-2 platform.

“The DLA team provides the most efficient supply support to the B-2, as it is one of DLA’s top priorities is to ensure their supportability is met, enabling the customer to meet their operational and wartime requirements,” he continued. “Future DLA on-site customer engagements will allow the customer to strengthen their overall knowledge of how DLA supports the customer, and, subsequently, the customer can elaborate on required supply support they may require from the DLA enterprise.”

Air Force Lt. Col. David Hanish, the B-2 material leader and Air Vehicle and Systems Management branch chief, said he was interested in attending the summit to improve the product support picture, learn the process at DLA, and build a collaborative team to keep the B-2 operational.

“It was extremely productive,” he said. “We learned a lot about DLA this week, including people who can help us get after aircraft availability. We also got to talk about issues (in the program). We have a long way to go, but it was a really good visit.”

The summit was valuable in helping develop new solutions to the issues facing available supplies, said Ricky Ingram, B-2 System Program Office Products Support integrator contractor support, Air Force Materiel Command.

“Some may say we have a ‘product supply chain,’ and I like to say we have a ‘product support supply web,’ and one person in the entire multiorganization mission of moving material management to aircraft availability to executing the mission can make or break the day,” he said. “Every day counts in the procurement lead time life cycle of secondary spares, material management and a variety of product support.

“This [event] is a way we best execute the mission – it’s relationship-based,” Ingram continued. “’How can we help each other?’ This goes back to our Secretary of the Air Force memo in September [2023] – ‘One Team, One Fight’ – to move the ball. Within these two days, new solutions were identified that previously weren’t before. That’s what we were missing, as we have a complex web of shared providers across the U.S.”

One joint take-away was that the summit was valuable to help all parties understand each other.

“I’m not a maintainer,” Hanish said. “I’m an acquisition guy, but we do represent the maintainer and, kind of, the voice of organizations like the Defense Logistics Agency. Other program officers should take the same opportunity.

“In fact, we had [Air Force] Global Strike [Command] representation here – our customer – say, ‘I wish every weapon system would do this,’ what we did over the last few days,” he continued. “There’d be a lot more transparency across the board, and we often forget that we’re ‘One Team, One Fight.’ It’s a lot of finger-pointing and trying to argue or just place blame on one organization or another when we all want to get behind the boulder and push it in the right direction. So, I think that one of my biggest insights is coming out here, meeting the team and realizing that everybody’s trying to do a really good job.”

Ingram echoed his sentiment and said the event helped him realize how much DLA supports the warfighter.

“As a prior maintainer, enlisted, as a prior officer, aircrew, I was that person on the flight line,” he said. “Meaning the part deliveries, I was that aircrew member under another Using Command and Platform in deployed locations needing part deliveries. We had no idea – I had no idea – of the number of talented employees across the agency working 24 hours a day to support those in the field.”

Due to the summit’s success, the stakeholders plan to hold it twice a year.