Managing a Global Supply Enterprise
From Naval Power & Force Projection/Summer 2017
RADM Jonathan Yuen Commander Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Chief of Supply Corps
RADM Jonathan Yuen became Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and 47th Chief of Supply Corps Oct. 3, 2013. Previously, he served as Commander, NAVSUP Global Logistics Support, San Diego, CA. Yuen, a San Francisco native, graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983. While a midshipman, he attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as an exchange student in the fall of 1981.
He has a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. He attended Executive Education Programs at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business. He also attended the Navy Executive Business Course at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
His Supply Corps sea duty assignments include tours on USS Narwhal (SSN 671) and USS Constellation (CV 64) and as supply officer on USS Nassau (LHA 4). His shore assignments include Navy acquisition contracting officer intern; Aide to the Director of the Supply, Programs and Policy Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; career counselor and community manager, Navy Supply Corps Personnel; executive assistant, Defense Logistics Support Center, Defense Logistics Agency; Executive Officer, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka; Deputy Commander of Corporate Operations, Naval Supply Systems Command; Deputy Commander for Ships and Submarines, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support; Fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations’ Strategic Studies Group and Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Fleet Supply and Ordnance, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
His joint assignments include serving as Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff of the Joint Contracting Command – Iraq/Afghanistan, headquartered in the International Zone of Baghdad with 18 regional offices throughout both theaters. He also completed a Navy individual augmentee (IA) assignment as director, U.S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center (CDDOC), Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
NP&FP: Please speak to your role/responsibilities as Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP).
RADM Yuen: I am the Navy’s supply chain manager. NAVSUP monitors and influences Navy and Joint Warfighter vital supplies, services, and quality-of-life support needed to accomplish our national defense missions. Around the world, NAVSUP manages the supply chains that provide material for Navy aircraft, surface ships, and submarines.
Our NAVSUP Enterprise provides supply support and repair parts for weapon systems, logistics operations support to the waterfront, contracting for services and supplies, fuel, ordnance management, and more. Additionally, we provide logistics information technology solutions through the development and management of supply business systems. We touch the lives of Sailors and their families every day through our quality-of-life programs.
Our Navy Exchanges provide retail services, lodging, and uniform support. We manage the Navy Personal Property Program that ships our Navy’s household goods worldwide, and we oversee the Navy Postal System. We also feed the fleet through our Navy food service program afloat and ashore. I am also dual-hatted as the Chief of Supply Corps and am responsible for the community management of over 3,000 Navy Supply Corps Officers.
NP&FP: From a maritime supply perspective, what are some focal challenges that NAVSUP is addressing in keeping current U.S. Navy fleet operations optimized?
RADM Yuen: The Chief of Naval Operations has emphasized that we are in competition, and challenged us to grow stronger and fight differently. We are meeting this challenge in alignment with the CNO’s “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” optimizing our operational support, using high velocity learning and digitization, to lead, fight and win. Our rapidly changing world challenges us to constantly learn and adapt.
To achieve high velocity learning at every level of NAVSUP, we continue to develop our workforce, emphasizing a culture of learning and innovation, to field the best teams, to win the logistics fight. We are improving our workforce competence by emphasizing punching the pubs, rigorous self-assessments, and by not only doing the right things, but also doing things right. Through various digitization initiatives we are learning to harness our enormous historical supply chain data to predict and anticipate needs, and even solve logistics challenges before they occur.
For example, one challenge we are addressing is establishing a repeatable process to provide provisions to deployed ships operating in a communications degraded or communications denied environment (C2D2E). We are testing push logistics concepts to replenishing ships at sea without relying on ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore communications. One concept uses a “digital twin” based on historic data to identify the amount of required subsistence for each afloat unit over a specified time period.
This process will predict food consumption patterns for different types of operations and initiate automatic subsistence re-orders of the right types and amounts of food. Overall, we intend to apply these methodologies to other classes of supply to further strengthen the Navy’s readiness to operate in austere environments. I am proud of what the NAVSUP team brings to the logistics fight, and the dedication each team member demonstrates daily. As we support the fleet operating in a changing and dynamic environment, we are adapting to fight differently to support our customers, by being agile, flexible, and proactive.
NP&FP: From a strategic perspective, how is NAVSUP helping ensure that the right equipment is where it needs to be to keep projected U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps operational movements at op tempo?
RADM Yuen: NAVSUP is part of the Navy’s global logistics network and is focused on providing logistics support to the right place at the right time to ensure all operational forces are combat ready to deliver the full range of required capabilities. NAVSUP does not own the network end-to-end, but provides the agility, flexibility, and resilience to support navy unique requirements across the full range of military operations. NAVSUP continues to develop and adapt to meet requirements from forces operating in remote locations.
These efforts provide services to ensure all requirements are available when units operate in a contested environment with limited or no communications. This is not easy; it is a challenge for any large organization to communicate clearly, even in a communications-rich environment. In order to bring the full capability and capacity of the entire NAVSUP Enterprise, we must be able to efficiently share information in all environments. NAVSUP’s eight Fleet Logistics Centers (FLCs), located around the world, play a critical role in supporting both regional and fleet commanders.
NAVSUP FLC planners, including interns, are embedded and integrated at each of the numbered fleets to respond to signals for current and future operations. These planners are part of a larger community assigned around the world as operational planners in both Navy and Joint billets. An integral part of how NAVSUP fights is carried out by the NAVSUP FLC’s logistics response teams (LRT). LRTs conduct in-theater support operations tailored to the mission.
These LRTs are task-organized to provide rapid, consistent, and scalable logistics. To provide this capability, trained personnel are developed and stationed on staff, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. When LRT personnel arrive at a location, they either expand logistics functions already in place, or establish new logistics capabilities.
This ability to augment local forces makes LRTs valuable, and can have a significant positive impact across the full range of military operations. NAVSUP is geographically aligned with all operating forces, supporting deployed assets around the globe. The NAVSUP Enterprise aids in force preparedness and readiness, participating in operational planning, regional exercises, and training. We are committed to being ready, resourceful, and responsive!
NP&FP: In terms of partnering with industry, how is NAVSUP working to influence procurement decisions to maximize fleet supply technology and equipment availability?
RADM Yuen: We partner with industry in a variety of ways, including through Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contracts, automated data driven decision making tools, and “portfolio reviews.” The PBL contracts used by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (WSS) are central to our long-term, outcome-based product support strategy.
The strategy is designed to meet the warfighter’s requirements, optimize system readiness, and incentivize our industry product support providers to reduce costs through innovation. NAVSUP has employed PBL contracts for a number of years at NAVSUP WSS, and they have proven to be an excellent means of sharing risks and rewards between the Navy and our commercial product support providers, while also reducing fleet operational costs.
NAVSUP is also developing automated data driven decision making tools to improve the availability of data, and respond to official inquiries more rapidly. For example, we are developing a consolidated contracting data warehouse (CDW) as a repository for information from multiple acquisition reporting systems. The data analysis identifies areas where existing contracting vehicles can be leveraged, or a vehicle can be developed to reduce stand-alone, and sometimes redundant, contracts.
Again, this is a win-win for industry and NAVSUP, as it reduces vendor costs by consolidating contracts, while simultaneously improving our management of these contracts and reducing our acquisition costs. We are also working closer with our fleet customers by conducting “portfolio reviews” with them. Our contracting professionals at our NAVSUP FLCs in Norfolk and San Diego are using a proactive strategic planning process, examining existing contracts and spending patterns.
They are identifying opportunities to improve procurement methods by using “strategically sourced” contracting vehicles, noting areas for increased competition among our industry partners, reducing our reliance on “bridge contracts,” and increasing opportunities for our small business base. Our Strategic Sourcing Program Management Office supports this type of proactive market research, and other procurement related improvement efforts that enhance the contracting process, allow for collaboration of best practices, and generally improve contracting efficiencies and fleet support.
NP&FP: Feel free to speak to recent NAVSUP goals/achievements.
RADM Yuen: Our Navy is being contested in some very important parts of the world, and we need to continue stepping up our game. The entire supply community is ready to support this fight. We recognize that for the Navy to maintain our competitive edge, we must strengthen and optimize all elements of our Navy’s supply systems, and we must move fast! The NAVSUP and Supply Corps team stands side-by-side with our joint warfighters and is doing great things in support of the fleet.
I am extremely proud of each team member and their dedication to winning the logistics fight. One example is the stellar support NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Centers (FLC) provide. Recently, NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound provided USS Nimitz (CVN 68) critical pre-deployment logistics support during the weeks and months leading up to the ship’s departure. In addition to daily deliveries of high priority parts and materials, 200 pallets of stock materials, and 1,102 pallets of food provisions, our team provided postal service, aviation fuel, and other logistics services. While deployed, our team will continue to provide critical logistics support, enabling the Nimitz Strike Group to execute their national defense missions wherever they sail.
Our innovative collaboration with other service providers to deliver logistics solutions for the fleet is another achievement. One example is the NAVSUP Logistics Cell (LOGCELL) initiative, which streamlines logistics processes between military and industry partners, and aids timely decision making. The LOGCELL is a war-room styled, web-based information center that allows a cross functional team to identify and respond to challenges through real time communication with the fleet. The program began with logistics data for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft and has expanded to support 14 aviation type/model/series (TMS) programs. Looking forward, our strategic goals are laid out in my 2017-2021 Strategic Plan & Commander’s Guidance.
These goals focus on how we will continue to fight across the full range of military operations, how we can optimize the supply chain, improve supply chain information technology systems, and increase access to quality-of-life services. Internally focused goals call for us to operate with sound internal controls, and to strengthen cybersecurity. My final goal is to lead with character and competence, to promote an ethical, effective, and committed workforce, because none of this happens without attaining a culture of moral excellence.