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OGDEN DEPOT STARTING DISTRIBUTION EARLY

Nearly a year sooner than planned, Defense Depot Ogden will take over responsibility next week for Tooele Army Depot's distribution of spare parts to bases throughout the world.

So far, officials seem unsure about what changes the consolidation will bring.The transfer has been planned for several years as part of a consolidation taking place across the entire Defense Department. Until now, the takeover by Defense Depot Ogden was scheduled to take place in February 1993.

However, Assistant Defense Secretary Colin McMillan announced last Wednesday that the consolidation will be completed 12 days from then.

"There's a consolidation team in position," said Dave Hunt, TAD spokesman, explaining the team is meeting to see how the operations can be brought together. "It's in the process of being looked at."

Asked what the effects will be, he said, "I don't know. We're waiting for the outcome right now. It's in the preliminary stages."

Vince O'Neil, public affairs specialist at Defense Depot Ogden, said the change brings Tooele's parts distribution under control of the Defense Logistics Agency.

"We don't have answers for a lot of your questions because we've been scrambling down there right now . . . to see just exactly what is going to be transferred and how we're going to make this happen," O'Neil said.

In letters to the heads of the military branches, McMillan wrote: "This decision, which will be more cost-effective than the current schedule, will ensure that we make inventory reductions as planned.

"Expected savings from this consolidation are $1.2 billion through fiscal 1997. In fiscal 1991, a savings of $155 million was achieved by eliminating duplicative stock, consolidating operations, closing deteriorating warehouses, reducing requirements for military construction and consolidating shipments."

Among 16 consolidation efforts he listed was that at Tooele Army Depot, whose parts distribution is being taken over by DDO, a base just outside Ogden. Such a consolidation of Hill Air Force Base parts distribution was accomplished by the depot in October 1991.

Apparently only the parts distribution at TAD will be affected, not TAD's storage of chemical weapons or repair of Army vehicles. "Everything will stay in place, including the employees and the line items," O'Neil said.

Earl W. Nichols, who works in the Defense Logistics Agency's headquarters in Alexandria, Va., offered background on the consolidation effort.

"The decision to consolidate the supply distribution activities at 30 depots was made by the secretary of defense back in '89, I believe, in his Defense Management Review," Nichols said.

"The consolidation itself has been going on, I'd say, close to a year and a half now."

The project had been scheduled for completion everywhere by June 1993, but McMillan's memo requires completion by Monday. Savings will take place through such improvements as eliminating duplication in stock and consolidating operations, he said.

"One of the reasons for accelerating the consolidation was to put them (distribution functions) all under one manager," he said.

So far, no detailed plan exists to show how the $1 billion-plus will be saved.