HISTORY OF THE MILITARY MATERIEL SYSTEM
a. For a few moments, let us examine the history of the military materiel system.
The Constitution states the "Congress shall raise and support armies." From the word
"support," we can derive the need for a materiel system.
b. Since the end of World War II, many changes have taken place to bring about
the materiel system we have today. Initially, the military departments had individual
separate materiel systems. Shortly after World War II, the US Army and US Navy
(USN) combined their procurement functions of medical materiel. This was the first of
the single manager-ships that were to follow.
c. Later, single manager-ships were designed for all materiel in the Armed
Forces. The USN, for instance, became the single manager of medical materiel and the
Army, the single manager for subsistence, clothing and textiles and petroleum, oils, and
d. Then in October 1961, the Secretary of Defense established the Defense
Supply Agency (DSA) recently retitled the DLA, to provide the Department of Defense
(DOD) common supplies and service support to the military departments and operate a
"wholesale distribution system."
Section II. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
The DLA is an agency of the DOD operating directly under the authority and control of
the Secretary of Defense and subject to DOD policies, directives, and instructions. The
DLA consists of a director, a deputy director, a deputy director for acquisition
management, a headquarters, and 27 primary level field activities and their subordinate
activities. The DLA is staffed by over 53,000 civilians and military personnel from all of
the military services.
The DLA mission is to provide specified logistic support to the military services,
to other DOD components, and to various Federal civil agencies. The three main areas
of logistic support provided by DLA are described below.
a. Supply Support. The DLA is responsible for procuring, storing, and
distributing common-type consumable items (non-consumables and items peculiar to
weapons systems are managed by the military services.)
b. Logistic Services. The DLA is responsible for the administration of a variety
of DOD programs, including the Federal Catalog System; the Materiel Utilization
Program; the Research and Technology Information System; the Surplus Property
Disposal Program; and the Standardization Program for most of the commodities
assigned to DLA. In addition, DLA furnishes specific administrative and technical
services, ranging from housekeeping and office support to the operation of a supply
management data bank.