Primary Arms

6 Important Things You Need to Know About DLA’s TLS Contracts in 2016

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who are reluctant to use the Defense Logistics Agency’s Tailored Logistics Support program to satisfy their requirements. Oftentimes, it is misunderstanding more than anything. When a unit purchases from TLS they are buying from DLA just like with requisitioning an NSN item, but the requirement is being fulfilled via a standing contract with one of six commercial vendors. While the needs are fulfilled by commercial vendors, it is a fully vetted government program put into place by DLA in order to reduce the strain on the standard stock system. DLA’s TLS supplements items with existing National Stock Numbers and allows authorized users to purchase low demand items along with the latest versions of gear.

I recommend that agencies and units consider the use of TLS, particularly when they have a laundry list of items to buy or know exactly the item they require. TLS offers the purchaser simplicity as well as control over what they buy. Additionally, with End of Fiscal Year right around the corner, TLS is a great way to obligate funds to satisfy requirements rather than spending them on a six month supply of toilet tissue. But, if you’re going to use TLS for EOY, you can’t wait. There have been some program changes this year which you need to know about. ADS Inc posted this article to their blog, summarizing these updates to TLS, which we asked to share. While we really appreciate ADS sharing this, we’d like to point out that the information pertains to the DLA TLS program as a whole, no matter which TLS vendor might fulfill your requirment.

ADS Inc. is a proud multiple award recipient of the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) Special Operations Equipment (SOE) and the Fire & Emergency Services Equipment (FESE) contracts as part of the Tailored Logistics Support Program (TLSP). As an incumbent Prime Vendor, ADS has proven itself successful in fulfilling customer equipment and incidental service needs and requirements since its first prime vendor contract awarded back in 2001 and its first TLS award acceptance in 2005.

ADS’s experienced contracting team, expansive customer-focused sales task force and its positive relationships with over 3,000 partner suppliers contributes to its ability to exceed the TLS program’s primary goals of reducing costs, ensuring product of choice, improving logistics response time and increased customer support. In this blog, we are going to highlight 6 important things you need to know about leveraging DLA’s TLS contracts in 2016. Be informed with ADS!

1. The deadline for submitting End of Year (EOY) orders through DLA’s TLSP Contracts have been moved up two weeks!

It’s all too common for government entities to reach a “use it or lose it” period towards the end of the fiscal year. This is a pertinent time for buyers to determine any outstanding requirements and submit them to their contracting office for approval.

Did you know the TLSP contract submission deadlines are set almost two weeks earlier than they were last year?
This means NOW is the time to start gathering any last minute purchasing requirements. See Diagram A – TLSP Procurement Vehicles for additional information regarding order processing as it pertains to the FESE and SOE programs.

Note: All TLS orders must be submitted to DLA by September 9, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Any orders with Fiscal Year (FY) 16 funds submitted past that timeframe will be returned to the submitter. Any orders received after that timeframe will be processed as FY17 funds.

2. The process for ordering through FESE and SOE TLS has changed as recent as May 31st, 2016.

As defense budgets shrink and a larger emphasis is put on improving the ordering process, the FESE and SOE TLSP contracts have adapted to continue to provide users with a simple, efficient procurement vehicle. The changes adopted this year give customers greater visibility on orders, more accurate pricing information and valid obligation/transfer of funding directly with DoD Finance personnel.

Changes to the SOE TLS Program (Effective November 2015) & FESE TLS Program (Effective May 31, 2016) Due to a mandate to conform to Audit Readiness requirements, several changes have been made to the SOE & FESE ordering process that the customer may or may not be informed of.

Most recent changes under the DLA Troop Support – Construction and Equipment Program:

For more information on how these changes affect the ordering process flow please download the flowchart provided by DLA.

1. Customer must now register a designated Finance Office Point of Contact (FOPOC) with their account and submit their information. Here are instructions on how to complete the designation form provided by DLA.
2. Once the customer’s FOPOC is registered, orders can be submitted for equipment, supplies and/or services under the current Order Request Spreadsheet. Once DLA approves the items for scope the request will be solicited amongst the qualified TLSP vendors.
3. DLA will email the Price Acknowledgement Spreadsheet to BOTH the Ordering Activity as well as the FOPOC.
4. Once the order is approved by the FOPOC and the Ordering Activity, the customer submits required funding information via the FOPOC Review Spreadsheet to DLA.
5. Upon award, DLA will send a second notification to the FOPOC and the Ordering Activity letting them know the order is awaiting obligation in the system.
6. Once the KO obligates the order, a third email will be sent to the FOPOC and the Ordering Activity with final order line item details.
7. A final email will be sent from DLA to the customer and will include a request to post receipt of the order in DoD EMALL.

3. It’s easier than ever to register with DLA.

To have access to a wide variety of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) equipment, incidental services and training through the SOE &FESE TLS Programs, qualifying customers must be authorized DOD, Federal or other DLA approved, federally-funded agencies. For more information on how to register, if you haven’t already, contact the following contracting offices:

DUNS: 027079776

Registration: Email | [email protected]
Ordering: Email | [email protected]
Questions: Email | [email protected]

Registration: Email | [email protected]
Ordering: Email | [email protected]
Questions: Email | [email protected]

4. Every request is approved on a case-by-case basis. Increase your chances of a quick, smooth approval process with these tips:

There are several reasons why DLA would not award or approve product requests. It’s important to keep in mind that DLA may not always know of the product (if it’s new technology for example) and may not always know the relevant application and how it pertains to your mission and the contract scope.

5. You can buy incidental services through TLS if they’re ancillary and purchased with a product.

According to Bloomberg Government, the government’s top four spending categories are services-related.

When it comes to the purchase of incidental services through the FESE and SOE TLS Program contracts, they are typically requested as an additional line item on the Customer Order Request Form and are ancillary to a product being requested. Incidental service requests should also ensure proper functional capability and safety of the accompanying product(s). Consistent with product requests, DLA will approve incidental service requests on a case-by-case basis. 

See Diagram C – EXAMPLES OF INCIDENTAL SERVICE REQUESTS for examples of these requests for both FESE and SOE programs. For additional instruction, visit the DLA SOE TLS Customer Guidelines and DLA FESE TLS Customer Guidelines or contact your respective TSLP Contract Manager.

6. ADS can…

Help you tackle road blocks early on.

Help you select equipment that fits your needs and requirements.

Provide procurement options through both of our FES and SOE TLS contracts.

Keep you updated on shipping information when your order is complete.


1. Send RFQ to ADS

Request a quote from your ADS Account Manager. They will help you identify the best procurement options for your requirements – GSA, TLS, Open Market, etc.

2. ADS Provides Quote

Our knowledgeable ADS Account Managers can help you select equipment to satisfy your requirements, determine procurement options, as well as verify part numbers, lead times, pricing (including freight), and country of origin.

3. Register for the Program

If you determine that the TLS Program is best for your requirement, register for the corresponding TLS Program with DLA Troop Support.

Instructions for Customer/FOPOC Registration:

4. Submit Your Order

Email your completed order request to DLA Troop Support. They will act as your contracting office.
Contact Info: SOE TLS Orders: [email protected]
Contact Info: FESE TLS Orders: [email protected]

5. You’re All Set!

DLA Troop Support will compete the requirement amongst the participating TLS vendors and provide best pricing for all items requested.

Once approved, DLA Troop Support will contact you and your FOPOC for funding information.

Once that is processed, an award will be made!

To learn more, visit


24 Responses to “6 Important Things You Need to Know About DLA’s TLS Contracts in 2016”

  1. Shaolin Shadowboxing says:

    One of the smartest subjects our unit learned two years ago was how to use TLS to close our operational capabilities gap we’d had. Big Mil wasn’t going to fix our problems, so we learned about TLS from a Navy guy assigned to our airborne IBCT! We procured new TOCs, weapons accessories, communications accessories, Polaris parts, dive equipment for our Cav Sqn C Troop, etc. Many of our leaders took the knowledge to other units that are now using TLS! Every leader should learn these processes, then educate your XO’s and logistics personnel to use it on your behalf! Know the difference between MICC rules and DLA rules, they’re different! DLA has created this process as a better means compared to the dreaded MICC (local contracting) rules (you don’t need three quotes, etc for DLA)! Everybody should share this information and contact your local TLSV rep (TSSI, Darley Defense, Unifire, Quantico Tactical, and Federal Resources)!

  2. EODFish says:

    I was very excited when I found out about this program from our ADS rep. Come to find out, local contracting still makes it a giant pain and wants me to compete the program quotes against open market and GSA contract quotes. If anyone has any guidance on why I shouldn’t have to do this, along with tangible rules backing that up, I would be forever indebted.

    • SSD says:

      Wait a sec, contracting doesn’t need to be involved with TLS at all. TLS is just like buying via DLA because it’s exactly what you are doing. DOA handles the quotes.

  3. EODFish says:

    I get that. However when it comes down to the actual MIPR, they still have to sign off on it (from what I am being told) and want to see competition.

  4. Inquiringminds says:

    This tool while there may have been great intention has grown to such a waste of important unit dollars… Mark ups… double surcharges, no real competition… even the article says work with ADS first?? that way they can corner the market and shut out the other vendors limiting competition… How is this good for our troops? It allows them to get expensive stuff really quick? Most of this stuff can be bought correctly with a plan and time and save tax dollars for items that are needed. What a joke this article is…

    • SSD says:

      You do realize that your unit pays a surcharge for everything you buy from DLA right?

      And you did read the whole article right? Where I said that the info pertained to the entire program, not just ADS, right?

      And finally, you do realize that open solicitations often result in you NOT getting what you want? Don’t believe me? Ask the 2nd MARDIV about those knockoff slings they got from a reverse auction. Or the PJ Squadron who got heavy ballistic plates because they were cheap.

    • Legion 35 says:

      We only cared when we found out one of the company’s was actually much more than the others, so we stopped using the first! But, if we’d used GSA, the MICC, they would have charged us waaaaaaay more than the DLA fee. BLUF, call the company that has the rep that is on your doorstep, has a resume like yours, and works on behalf of the unit! A number of them are stand up guys/gals! You’ll figure it out! If not, you’ll continue to get screwed in the long run! You don’t want competition, you want equipment and the equipment you T&E with! Competition means you’ll end up with Bo Bo Tactical’s product that you never seen/heard of, let alone T&E’d!

  5. Inquiringminds says:

    Yes I know there is a DLA mark up on everything bought through the system, Using TLS there is now another market for the contract holder… then work with ADS upfront and they will set the commercial price too… who knows how high the price is jacked up… These contracts should be reviewed with an IG audit, or better yet GAO. DLA leadership should be looked at too, wouldn’t be the first time they were involved in a scandal… The current system works if you don’t try to cut corners, do your homework and plan… problem is everyone wants it yesterday and they don’t want to put in the hard work to get it right… meanwhile one or two people are making a mint off of our warfighters. It’s a shame!

    • SSD says:

      It’s unfortunate you don’t know more about TLS. By the program’s own rules, the vendors can only make so much percentage. And, the program is reviewed, regularly. If you have any actual evidence of malfeasance on the part of a government employee I’d love to see it.

      • Inquiringminds says:

        I have studied TLS for years looking for a similar tool without the chance of abuse or misuse… unfortunately as I have said this tool started out as a great option however has grown out of control… when the dollar value grows so high there is always going to be some that abuse the process for their own gain it as human nature. This tool has grown out of control. As for actual evidence, there are many examples of questionable behavior, meetings with one vendor and not all, rumors of off sites and gifts, bid rigging and kick backs… direct evidence no, but i wouldnt be taking a shot in the dark, when i sau where there is smoke and Billions of dollars… there is usually fire. No smoking gun, but , this tool like many other “great solutions” will be exposed some day I am confident of that.

        • SSD says:

          Perhaps, but until then, you’re just making unsubstantiated accusations. If you’ve got something concrete, I’d like to see it and I’m sure the GAO would as well. But for now, if TLS gets you what you need, then use it.

  6. Inquiringminds says:

    You also realize most of the changes made take all the pressure or risk off DLA and put them back on the unit. however the unit has none of the details or information needed to make the correct decisions… a blank check for someone that doesn’t care about our Warfighters to cash.

    • SSD says:

      I guess I got lost somewhere in your answer.

      Pressure off of DLA? If you mean that they don’t have to issue NSNs for every single product consumed by DoD thanks to the various TLS programs? Then yes. NSNs cost money to maintain. Aside from the administrative issues, DLA has to stock that item. That means more storage, which costs.

      There are versions of TLS for a wide variety of items such as Class I and Class VIII. Yes, some of the food you eat in the dining facility came from one of those greedy TLS vendors. Go to sick call? That darned TLS vendor make a buck off of the thermometer cover and gloves the medic used.

      If you don’t think a unit knows what it needs, then I don’t know what to tell you. Commanders are responsible adults.

      • Inquiringminds says:

        Same responsible adults that you often bash for poor decision making?

        • SSD says:

          I definitely bash those that violate the 5000 series. Using DLA TLS is not a violation of the DFAR. In fact, it’s a great tool to fulfill requirements, particularly at the unit level. It’s unfortunate that you can’t tell the difference.

          • Inquiringminds says:

            You are just throwing words out there now… an Acquisition Profesional would beg to differ while the tool itself may be well within the DFAR the process to use the tool often violates the FAR and DFAR (Like my statement above that you got lost in) This takes all the risk off DLA and places it in the hands of a non acquisition professional. These are the nuisances of the tool that if you dig into should raise concerns but it is clear that is not a concern for some it’s unfortunate that you can’t see the difference.

            • War Profiteer says:

              If you ever leave government and join the world of work, you’ll see things from the other side of the mirror and realize that the things government does are rarely in its own long-term best interest.

              You’ll also figure out why things cost so much, how most companies are barely treading water, and why. I’ll give you a hint, the answer is government.

              Instead of whining about industry, maybe you should be thankful that you have all of these great options and capabilities that didn’t exist 15 years ago.

              • Inquiringminds says:

                Left government years ago… and I’m not complaining about industry but the misuse by the government they have created a monster.

  7. EODFish says:


    As predicted, a rather large order we had tried to process through TLS was blocked when trying to push the MIPR by our local contracting office. They wanted us to show that we had done price comparison and that we were unable to beat the TLS pricing.

    • SSD says:

      Contact the folks at DLA Troop Support

      • EODFish says:

        Emails and phone calls where made today but it’s too late for this year. The email with the pricing sheet was mishandled at a mystery step so I didn’t get any feedback on my order until today and it was too late to fight.