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Name: Harnitchek, Mark
Current Position: Former Director

Vice Admiral Mark D. Harnitchek became director of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in November 2011. Located in the Defense Department, DLA provides support as well as technical and logistic services to the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and is in charge of almost every consumable item America’s military services need to operate, including food, clothing, equipment and even jet fuel. In recent years it has been the subject of investigations regarding waste and corruption involved with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and former DLA directors, after retiring, have gone to work for the companies did business with while in the armed services. In FY 2011, DLA made a record $46 billion in purchases.

Born circa 1956 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Harnitchek earned a B.A. at Penn State University in 1977 and was commissioned as an ensign through the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps program. In 1987, he earned a Master’s degree in management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
Harnitchek served in a variety of sea tours including on two submarines, USS Will Rogers and USS Buffalo. During these tours, he served as the ship’s diving officer and officer of the deck. He then served on two submarine tenders, USS Holland and USS Proteus, as the assistant supply officer and the supply officer, respectively. Harnitchek also served on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. His shore tours include service as commander of Submarine Group 7 in Yokosuka, Japan; at the Navy Ships Parts Control Center Naval Air Station in Oceana, Va.; and as the chief of naval operations staff.
Harnitchek was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (lower half) in April 2002, and rear admiral (upper half) in April 2005. His flag assignments have included commanding officer at the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia; vice director for logistics at the Joint Staff; director of Strategy, Policy, Programs and Logistics at the U.S. Transportation Command (2006-2009); director of the U. S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom; and deputy commander of the United States Transportation Command (2009-2011).
In 2006 he led the establishment of the Northern Distribution Network to transport supplies into Afghanistan without going through Pakistan. In 2009 he oversaw the Transportation Command’s response to the earthquake in Haiti.
At the 2011 Defense Logistics Conference in Arlington on November 30, Harnitchek reflected on his 34-year involvement with DLA. “When I was coming up, DLA wasn't operating in a true combat support role,” he said. “They were largely about managing inventory and running disposal, which they still do. But since 9/11, they are forward almost like a functional combatant command, doing stuff in a no-kidding combat support role, operating all over the world.” Describing the drawdown in Iraq, he said, “The big thing for DLA in Iraq was making sure that when we were closing all the forward operating bases, that from a distribution and disposal perspective we left them as pristine as they were when we took them…. We processed 300 million pounds of scrap, returned about $100 million worth of items back to the services, and either reutilized, sold, donated or demilitarized and disposed of $27 billion worth of stuff.”
Harnitchek added that supplying troops in Afghanistan is logistically difficult and that it requires special oversight because “we rely exclusively on private industry to deliver our supply chains—food and fuel—to the customer.”
Harnitchek has two children, Gillian and Kyle, from his marriage to Joanne L. (Caruso) Harnitchek, who passed away in December 2002.
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