Caldera denies union appeal to block logistics outsourcing

The Army has removed the last procedural hurdle standing in the way of its long-delayed $1 billion project to outsource its wholesale logistics system.

Army secretary Louis Caldera said that last week he denied an appeal made by a union of federal employees that had stood in the way of the Army's Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program, and he said the service plans to proceed quickly because "it has great promise for us."

The Army anticipates using WLMP to save money by modernizing its logistics systems and by privatizing software centers in St. Louis and Chambersburg, Pa., both of which support Army legacy systems. The Army plans to use WLMP to modernize systems that help manage an inventory valued at $9 billion and to rely on just-in-time delivery practices to supply troops with equipment ranging from helmets to helicopters.

Earlier this summer, a local branch of the National Federation of Federal Employees representing fewer than 500 civilian Army employees who maintain the Army's aging and outdated logistics system in St. Louis and Chambersburg filed an appeal against the Army's plan to outsource the work.

Caldera, speaking today in Washington, D.C., at the annual Association of the United States Army conference, said that although he denied the union's appeal, the Army will try to provide civilian employees working on the Army's logistics systems with "a soft landing...[or] early retirement."

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