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Tribute To Vice Adm. Edward M. Straw, Sc, Usn

Rep. George W. Gekas

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Mr. Speaker, on October 25, 1996, Vice Adm. Edward M. Straw, Supply Corps, United States Navy, Director of the Defense Logistics Agency [DLA], will retire after a distinguished military career of over 35 years. His accomplishments during that period are many and significant, and the legacy he leaves to the business of the Defense Department is beyond comparison.

Vice Admiral Straw, a native of Marysville, PA, in my congressional district, joined the Navy Supply Corps upon commissioning from the United States Naval Academy in 1961. As he rose through the ranks, he served in numerous challenging operational postings in the United States and overseas, including three sea duty assignments. In those progressively more responsible positions, he honed his business and logistics management skills and led his supply forces in supporting improved readiness at reduced cost at critical Navy commands, such as on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) during its unprecedented 10 month deployment in the Persian Gulf.

Moving on to senior headquarters-level policy and execution responsibilities with great impact Navywide, then-Captain Straw rose from chief financial officer of Navy Supply Systems Command [NAVSUP], to director of supply policy and programs for the Chief of Naval Operations [CNO], and finally to Vice Commander of NAVSUP, attaining the rank of two-star Rear Admiral. He pioneered the use of commercial unit-costing techniques and other innovative approaches which drove infrastructure savings exceeding $500 million per year. He developed numerous supply support initiatives which contributed immensely to revitalized Navy combat preparedness, including record high levels of sustained operational readiness support during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

With this record of innovative performance and savings, he was selected in July 1992 to become Director of DLA, DOD's largest combat support agency. Now a Vice Admiral, he became responsible for providing worldwide logistics support to American warfighters, numerous federal agencies, and U.S. allies directing over 50,000 civilian and military personnel at over 300 locations and managing a budget of $14 billion per year. DLA acquires, distributes, and arranges reutilization of the vast majority of DOD's supply system assets, and also administers 377,000 contracts valued at over $900 billion and involving over 24,000 contractors.

Vice Admiral Straw's 4 years at DLA represent a watershed, not only for the agency, but for public sector management. He thoroughly reengineered the agency's structure, processes, and leadership approach. He focused on the customers' needs, changing DLA's strategy from one of buying, storing, and delivering large inventories of items just in case they are needed, to arranging cost-effective material sources that could deliver to the warfighters when items are needed. He accomplished this by taking advantage of cost saving market leverage and the benefits of emerging technology. In both materiel management and contract administration, selected functions have been privatized, modern business techniques brought to bear, and high quality partnerships with the country's vast supplier base fostered. Through these and other efforts, the Agency has achieved savings or cost avoidances exceeding $10 billion to date, with firm commitments to its warfighting customers and the taxpayers for $20 billion more over the next 7 years. In addition, DLA now provides more responsive materiel deliveries and direct on-scene logistics support to contingency and humanitarian support forces wherever they go, including Haiti and Bosnia.

Under Vice Admiral Straw's leadership, DLA has received a variety of prestigious awards, including the Joint Meritorious Unit Medial from Secretary of Defense William Perry. A key DLA field activity became one of the first two federal activities to win the Ford Foundation/Harvard University ``Innovations in American Government'' award in 1995. As a result of his exceptional performance at DLA, Vice Admiral Straw was selected for additional duty as Director of DOD's Defense Performance Review from June 1994 to August 1995 in support of the National Performance Review. He subsequently received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal from Secretary Perry in recognition of his performance at DLA and the DPR, and won the 1996 Founders Award from the Society of Logistics Engineers.

Throughout his long and extraordinary career, Vice Admiral Straw has continually introduced new ideas wherever he was assigned, achieved unprecedented performance breakthroughs, challenged his people to fulfill their potential, and always left his organization better prepared for the future. He has done so again at DLA, and will be leaving behind an Agency on the forefront of best business practices and frontline combat support. Upon his impending retirement from active duty, the citizens of Pennsylvania and the rest of this great Nation are forever in his debt and wish him, his wife Chris, and daughters Sylvana, Katie, and Megan, good health, happiness, and much success in the future.