To us, there's never been any doubt that Alan Estevez knows logistics. When we first met him nearly 10 years ago, it was clear he was a logistics professional on the move, a pro to know, if you will. And his subsequent accomplishments in the world of defense logistics proved we were right.
But we weren't the only ones to take note of his achievements. Senior defense leaders have recognized Estevez's contributions to providing critical logistics support for the nation's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And now it's becoming apparent that his work has not gone unnoticed at the very highest levels of government.
If Estevez's name sounds familiar to DC Velocity readers, it's because he's been cited by the magazine a number of times over the years. Among other things, he was a member of our Logistics Rainmakers Class of 2004 and the subject of our July 2010 Thought Leaders Q&A interview.
Estevez is currently serving as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense (logistics & materiel readiness). Essentially, what that means is that he's responsible for making sure that U.S. troops, contractors, and civilian support personnel have exactly what they need when they need it, no matter where they are on the planet. And in this type of operation, there's no room for error. Estevez is making decisions where lives might be on the line.
What first brought Estevez to our attention back in 2004 was his behind-the-scenes work to promote the use of a hot new technology, RFID. At a time when private industry was just beginning to get on board with the technology, the Defense Department was already testing RFID tags to track field rations and chemical-biological suits from factory to foxhole. Estevez was one of the key players in taking the Defense Department's RFID initiative to the next level.
Six years later, when we met with him to conduct the Thought Leaders interview, he was in the midst of another project of mind-boggling scope: overseeing the rapid rollback of the military's presence in Iraq at the same time it was ramping up its presence in Afghanistan. The drawdown initiative alone involved determining the disposition of literally millions of items and tens of thousands of SKUs, each of which had to be secured, inspected, and flagged for return to the United States, donation to the Iraqi forces, repair for reuse, or redeployment to Afghanistan. We're talking about a logistics operation the likes of which you just don't see on the private-sector side of supply chain management.
His efforts have earned him a number of awards over the years. In addition to his 2004 designation as a DC Velocity Rainmaker, Estevez is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Meritorious Executive Award, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service, and the 2005 Service to America Medal awarded by the Partnership for Public Service.
Now it appears he'll be adding another title to his rÃ©sumÃ©. On March 11, word arrived that President Barack Obama had tapped Estevez as his nominee to be the next assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness, Department of Defense. In making the nomination, the president cited the "extraordinary dedication" Estevez has shown and will bring to his new role.
The position of assistant secretary of defense is a political appointment, and typically an outsider has filled the position. The nomination of Estevez—whose entire career has been spent in military logistics—demonstrates the newfound importance of logistics in the 21st century.
His appointment will require Senate confirmation, but all indications are Estevez will sail through. And why not? It's hard to envision a better professional for the job.