Director of the Defense Logistics Agency: Who Is Darrell K. Williams?

Thursday, July 27, 2017
Darrell K. Williams

Lieutenant General Darrell K. Williams, who has worked in Army logistics for his entire career, was named on May 1, 2017, to head the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which provides nearly every consumable item for the U.S. armed forces and some civilian agencies.


No sooner had Williams taken charge than he was presented with a damaging report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO set up a sting operation that targeted DLA’s Law Enforcement Support Office, which transfers excess property to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. GAO created a fake agency and quoted a fake law to justify its legitimacy. It early 2017, it was able to obtain night-vision goggles, thermal imaging equipment, specialized printers, explosive ordnance detonation robots, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles and aircraft, not to mention medical supplies, office furniture and tents.


Williams was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, one of eight children. He graduated from Twin Lakes High School (now Palm Beach Lakes High School), where he participated in marching band, ran track and cross-country, played basketball and was in the chess club. With an Army ROTC scholarship in hand, Williams went to Virginia’s Hampton Institute (now University), a historically black college. He graduated in 1983 with a B.A. in psychology and a commission as an Army second lieutenant. Since then, Williams has earned master’s degrees in military arts and sciences (from the School of Advanced Studies); national security and strategic strategy (from National War College); and business management—logistics (from Penn State).


After graduation, Williams began working his way up the chain of command. He served as deputy director of strategic communications, in the office of the Army chief of staff; chief and commander of the 3rd Forward Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division (mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Operation Joint Guardian, Kosovo. He first commanded troops as a captain in the 1st Corps Support Command.


Williams served as brigade commander of the 3rd Sustainment Brigade in Fort Stewart, Georgia (2006-2008), during which he was deployed in northern Iraq, and executive officer to the Army deputy chief of staff; and director of logistics, engineering and security assistance for the U.S. Pacific Command at Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii.


He was promoted from colonel to brigadier general in August 2009, and then assumed command of the DLA Land and Maritime unit based in Columbus, Ohio, the following month. In January 2012, Williams moved up to major general and became deputy chief of staff for the Army Materiel Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. In October 2013, he took charge as commanding general of the 1st Sustainment Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with responsibility for Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.


He took command of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command on January 31, 2014, and three days later flew to Afghanistan to visit the unit’s forward headquarters, one of nine countries in his jurisdiction. In August 2015, Williams took over as commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia. He was promoted to lieutenant general in March 2017.


Williams has said that his three most important standards are “Lead by example, take care of soldiers and families, and mission accomplishment. I talk about taking care of soldiers and families before I talk about taking care of the mission because, I still believe…that if you take care of the troops, the mission will happen. The reverse is not always true.”


Williams and his wife, Myra, have a son and daughter, both adults.

-David Wallechinsky Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography

1st TSC Commander not Quite Ready to Leave (by Drew Brooks, Fayetteville Observer)


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