Afghanistan Disposal Mission Continues Amid COVID-19 Challenges

Navy Petty Officer Second Class Alejandro Garcia joins his fellow reservists practice social distancing along with their small arms skills during familiarization and practice training during their deployment supporting DLA Disposition Services operations in Afghanistan.
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Dozens of reservists and civilian employees supporting Defense Logistics Agency operations in Afghanistan are maintaining critical defense missions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Army Lt. Col. Ryan Mendenhall, officer in charge of DLA Disposition Services in Afghanistan, said his staff is sustaining daily operations while also working with senior military leaders there on preparations for next year’s expected drawdown.

Despite travel restrictions impacting the movement of DLA employees in Afghanistan and the Middle East, Mendenhall said his team is continuing operations with a full staff. All employees are practicing social distancing or wearing masks where the mission makes distancing difficult, he added.

“We are taking this seriously and doing all we can to abide by the policy and rules established in regards to COVID-19,” he continued.

Equipment turn-ins and demilitarization of controlled items are still being conducted with inventory records being updated remotely. And already established relationships with customers in the operating area make communication easier, especially with electronic mediums like phone and email, Mendenhall said.

“The only issue or challenge [that] movement restrictions present is the ability to move contractors at different sites or sending an information technology rep to a site when it is needed. However, we can work through those challenges,” he added.

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