“The more you can do locally, the more receptivity you have from the people in that area. We have been able to foster confidence in why we’re there, and there’s a benefit to many people as a result of us being there,” said Rich Faso, director of customer operations in the DLA Troop Support subsistence directorate, in an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.
DLA currently has two distribution centers, one in Kabul in the north of the country and a second one in Helmand province in the south. The centers serve about 250 locations throughout Afghanistan, Faso said.
The addition of the second center has allowed faster delivery time and saved costs on transportation, he added.
The centers have allowed servicemembers to eat food they would find in any school cafeteria or restaurant, Faso said. Most food is brought on containers from the United States, but the fresh products (fruit, vegetables, dairy) are airlifted from the United Arab Emirates, Faso said.
Supreme is the prime contractor and has a staff of more than 90 percent locals who do everything from working in the warehouses to driving trucks, Faso said. About 7,000 locals are now employed by Supreme, he said.
“There’s a good benefit to the economy in Afghanistan,” he said. Faso added that such programs put “good will” into the country. “People see that and it helps offset some of the other things that go on that we’re not real happy about.”
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.