Feeding disaster survivors is one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s core response capabilities and it is one of the first initiatives requested at the onset of most disasters.
Defense Logistics Agency troop support has long procured meal options for U.S. armed forces. Through its whole-of-government program, DLA envisioned the Survivor Daily Ration to meet FEMA’s unique needs for a complete daily ration package.
SDRs currently include 10 unique meal packages configured with a full day’s worth of food for an adult in a single package. The minimum shelf life is three years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The rations don’t require a heating element, which reduces environmental waste and eliminates the need for food preparation in emergency situations.
The packaging, feeding capacity and cost of SDRs are projected to save $66.5 million—every three years—as FEMA increases its stock to 27 million meals.
SDRs also require less storage space since each unit replaces two individual meals. This allows FEMA to use 183,000 square feet less of warehouse space to store 27 million meals.
Tiendung Nguyen, individual rations branch chief for DLA troop support’s subsistence supply chain, has worked closely with the three DLA contractors to meet FEMA’s requirements.
“We want to make sure that we are providing the best for Americans in need,” Nguyen said. “We have relationships with vendors of which we know have the capacity to mass produce high-quality products.”
DLA Troop Support’s longstanding procurement capabilities allowed a quick turnaround from FEMA’s request to create a unique feeding solution in August 2022 to DLA awarding a contract in December and FEMA receiving its first orders in April 2023.
Vendors currently producing mass meal solutions for DLA, such as meals ready to eat, already produce millions of meals for the warfighter annually, thus the footprint of supporting FEMA does not strain the production capabilities of the vendors.
“The number of SDRs is a drop in the bucket compared to the MREs the vendors make every year,” said Harry Streibich, operational rations chief for DLA troop support’s subsistence supply chain. “Our MRE contractors will have no problem fitting the SDRs into their production schedule when required.”
DLA Distribution is slated to ship SDRs after production to the locations indicated by FEMA.
“FEMA does not have to be worried about doing the logistics contracting or supplying of these meals,” said Dorothy O’Connell, whole of government business development division chief with DLA troop support. “They’ve turned it over to us so that when a disaster does strike, they can just go out there and respond.”
FEMA is one of more than 40 DLA federal partners.
This article, Defense Logistics Agency's Troop Support Creates Survivor Daily Rations for FEMA, was first published by The Department of Defense.
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