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Johnson Hails GSA's Partnership with Marines

As prepared for delivery

Remarks by
Martha N. Johnson
U.S. General Services Administration
Briefing, US Marine Corps Customer Appreciation Day
Quantico, Virginia
April 28, 2011

Thank you, Col. Daniel Choike [Marine Corps Base Quantico commander], for that introduction.

It’s a pleasure to be here at MCB Quantico – the “Crossroads of the Corps,” and I am delighted to join in the celebration of this Customer Appreciation Day.

First, I want to thank the Marines and all of our men and women in uniform and their families for their daily service and sacrifices to our nation. Like many Americans, I am intensely proud of the members of my family who served this great country in the military services. My father served in the Navy during World War II. One uncle was a Navy chaplain during that war, and another entered Nagasaki, Japan, with Admiral Richard Byrd a week after the bomb.

Another was awarded a Purple Heart in Korea. An aunt was in the Women's Army Corps and carried the flag at the opening ceremonies of the United Nations.

I feel your service deeply, and it is an honor to support your work.

I also want to thank the Marine Corps for partnering with the General Services Administration and our vendors in the creation and support of the ServMart stores both here at Quantico and around the world.

The mission of the U.S. General Services Administration is to use our expertise to provide innovative solutions for our customers in support of their missions, and by so doing, foster an effective, sustainable, and transparent government for the American people.

In other words, we support the Department of Veterans Affairs so that it can support our veterans. We provide infrastructure for the Department of Commerce so that it can promote American businesses abroad and support them here at home.

Our customers range across all branches of government: legislative, executive, judicial, state, and local. We work in design, real-estate management, information technology, fleet, credit cards, travel, commodities, services, and disposal. Under ordinary circumstances, this is a big job. But I don’t need to tell this audience that these are not ordinary circumstances.

Our country faces serious challenges both at home and abroad. Our veterans need care, our children need good schools, our infrastructure needs a face-lift, and our troops need support.

They – you all – need the best tools to do your job. To tackle these challenges, we need to secure for the nation a government that works – and works well.

The nation requires a government that works well at educating all our talent; that works well at building our infrastructure; that works well at fostering American ingenuity and innovation; and works well at defending our homeland.

And we can help.

At GSA, we are strategically positioned to play a crucial role in building and supporting such a government. Through our buying power and contracting expertise, we support a government that does what it does faster, smarter, and better.

The fourth party logistics partnerships and the ServMart stores and online outlets are important tools in our toolkit as we help our customer agencies. Together, they offer an unprecedented suite of services that deliver best value by lowering costs, increasing access to a vast variety of products, and freeing up needed resources.

Today, most of what you see in the store is owned by our vendors until you buy it – that means that the U.S. Marine Corps has divested itself of owned inventory and all of the management requirements and costs associated with ownership. We see this value proposition in real numbers and real discounts. It is a commitment by industry for your business.

Using our acquisition expertise, we have been able to bring significant savings to our customers in the form of 7 percent to 21 percent discounts on top of our already discounted schedule price. These discounts translate into expected savings of several million dollars this fiscal year alone for the Marine Corps. Because of this, customers are seeing greater value in using the USMC ServMart retail stores and online offerings; and across the garrison retail supply chain, enterprise sales were up from $61 million in 2008 to more than $107 million in 2010.

Indeed, the growth of the program is obvious not just here at Quantico but at all of the ServMart locations. For example, I understand the Camp Lejeune ServMart now ranks as Office Depot’s No. 2 store in North America in sales volume. And the benefits aren’t just monetary.

These new partnerships have increased the number of options available to customers and have sped up the delivery of those products. And they play a mission-critical role, too, by improving installation and operational support to deploying units, increasing the Corps’ surge capacity, and contributing to the vision of making effective logistics support a force multiplier.

Through partnerships like the one we celebrate today, we will deepen our relationship, provide you with ever better service and purchasing options, and continue to deliver best value here at Quantico and around the globe.

The Marine motto is Semper Fidelis. Always faithful. You are always faithful to us. And we, in turn, must always be faithful to you.

I salute the fabulous team at GSA that is eager, hardworking, and ever-ready to serve your needs. I salute our country’s business community and the vendors who support our economy and our nation. And I salute the U.S. Marine Corps for their tireless service and sacrifice in the name of our shared freedom and prosperity.

Thank you.

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