The Defense Logistics Agency director known for operationalizing the agency’s support to combatant commanders relinquished command to Mike Scott, DLA vice director, during a ceremony June 8 at the McNamara Headquarters Complex.
Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams became the agency’s 19th director in June 2017. His tenure began with disaster-relief response for hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and ended with the national response to the pandemic.
Jordon Gillis, assistant secretary of defense for sustainment and event officiator, called Williams’ leadership “absolutely awesome.”
“I have had the chance to watch, admire and learn from General Williams, and I can tell you, without a doubt, that DLA is stronger, more focused and more aligned with the department’s lines of efforts than ever before,” he said at the ceremony.
With Williams at the helm, DLA oversaw programs with an annual revenue of over $42 billion, delivering almost every consumable item American forces needed for combat readiness, emergency preparedness and daily operations.
The Agency Synchronization Operations Center Williams established maintains a 24/7 global watch of supplies that enables warfighters to provide agile military support.
“The ASOC became DLA’s nerve center, when COVID-19 hit and provided unparalleled visibility and insight into a rapidly developing situation. Thanks to his insight and leadership, it was very needed,” Gillis said.
Williams said his leadership was inspired by DLA employees’ motivation and willingness to meet the logistics needs of troops in harm’s way and at a variety of locations around the globe. He called the agency’s role indispensable to the success of the department, the nation and more than 40, whole-of-government partners.
“DLA is especially critical to our nation during times of national crisis, such as what we have experienced with COVID-19 and response to hurricanes, forest fires and other natural disasters,” he said. “Nobody does it at the size, scope and scale that the DLA does, and I want to thank all of our employees for stepping up to the plate to bat every single time.”
The agency provided almost $1.2 billion in disaster relief to consecutive hurricanes that ravaged the U.S., Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands in August 2017, supporting other agencies. And,
in pandemic support, DLA employees have so far executed more than 14,000 contract actions and provided another $1.3 billion in personal protective equipment to the services, Department of Health and Human Services and FEMA.
“Your dogged determination to take care of the warfighter, as well as the whole of nation and the American people, is what often won the day for DLA,” Williams added. “Your processing of over 10,000 orders per day and conducting distribution operations anywhere and everywhere that our troops required them also won the day.”
DLA’s civilian workers are as dedicated and patriotic as its military members, Williams continued.
“A very large percentage of the DLA workforce has served within our military, and having served in many of the same formations they now support, they understand the urgency and the operationalization of the support we provide,” he said.
Williams thanked his wife, Myra, for supporting him during his 37-year career and supporting Service members by presenting her a Grateful Nation Blanket, which honors the men and women who’ve defended freedom throughout the nation’s history. The blanket’s chronologically placed stripes represent service ribbons awarded to veterans of military conflicts, while 56 stars represent the 50 states, District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.
Scott, who will serve as acting director until Congress confirms the agency’s next military leader, said Williams can be justifiably proud of his accomplishments at DLA.
“You took us to new heights,” he said. “We are a better and stronger organization because of your vision and steadfast leadership.”
Williams retires later this summer.