AF leader to break new ground

  • Published
  • By Debra Bingham
  • DSCR Public Affairs
Col. Madeline Lopez is breaking new ground -- she's set to become the first commander of Defense Logistics Agency Warner Robins. Lopez has served as the director of the C-17 Aircraft/System Support Management office at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center since September 2004 and will become DLA Warner Robins commander Oct. 14.

DLA Warner Robins, a detachment of Defense Supply Center Richmond, evolved out of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission's decision on supply and storage aimed at reshaping the Department of Defense infrastructure through consolidation, realignment and restructuring to optimize military readiness. Under the BRAC mandate, all supply, storage and distribution functions now being done at service-run maintenance depots, industrial sites and shipyards will be transferred to DLA. DLA Warner Robins is the first site to transition to DLA under the BRAC 2005 supply and storage decisions.

The change means an in-place transfer of employees to DLA. They will still be physically located at the same military site, but their organizational authority will align under DLA.

By law, all 2005 BRAC decisions must be implemented by Sept. 15, 2011. It's a complex process which requires partnership and collaboration by the services and DLA to make the transition seamless to customers and smooth for the work force.

Lopez will serve as DLA's "single face" to the WR-ALC commander, its wings and other tenant units at the base, overseeing a civilian work force of more than 260. As a DLA customer for 26 years, Lopez said she values the support the agency has provided. She also understands, firsthand, the issues and challenges ahead, as DLA focuses on joint, integrated and agile support. DLA Warner Robins also represents DLA's strategic initiative and commitment to geographically align with its customers to provide improved service.

"This whole effort is truly about warfighter focus and bringing the capabilities that DLA has to offer to the customer -- and save resources and consolidate and leverage the efficiencies of the logistics process," Colonel Lopez said. "We've also received a lot of insight from our direct customers, who are letting us know about issues that need to be addressed."

Along with any major reorganization or corporate realignment, there are bound to be issues related to human resources. Lopez said people are essential to the success of the transformation, and DLA and Air Force leaders are aware of and sensitive to employee concerns.

"There are a lot of issues that are still being discussed even as we speak, including personnel and systems issues," Lopez said. "We have a transition team at Warner Robins that's assisting in the stand-up."

Lopez understands that the change and uncertainty will have an impact on people, but she's also confident that the concerted effort by DLA and Air Force leadership will make it a win-win outcome for all with a structured approach for managing the transition.

"Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, addressed a large number of senior leaders last week via VTC about focusing on the transition and its impact on the work force and customers," Lopez said. "The issues are being worked at the right level and by the right experts. We're one team and we're all focused on the same thing: supporting our service men and women."