Prior to this assignment, Burns served as headquarters chief of staff from June to November 2019. In this position he managed the daily operations and interrelations of the DeCA headquarters staff, serving as the principal business management advisor to the agency’s chief operating officer and the director.
From January 2016 to June 2019, Burns was the provisional executive director of business transformation. In this position he was responsible for preparing the agency for critical near-term business efficiencies and opportunities while sustaining a viable and relevant commissary benefit. He oversaw the planning, evaluation and implementation of the agency’s transformation activities.
From August 2013 to January 2016, Burns was the chief performance officer, responsible for the work of three subordinate divisions: corporate communications, strategic planning and the executive services. He was responsible for corporate planning, performance management and communicating corporate strategy. He also ensured strategic performance plans are linked to resources; strategic objectives are aligned with the workforce structure and competencies; and strategic initiatives, key performance indicators and investments are monitored. In addition, he managed the agency’s full range and support of DOD security programs to include antiterrorism, physical security, information security and personnel security.
Burns served as DeCA’s sales director from 2010 to 2013, responsible for nearly $6 billion in annual agency sales. He oversaw the agency’s comprehensive category management process, and item file maintenance, and implemented the marketing business unit’s extensive marketing and merchandising programs. Prior to the agency reorganization in September 2011, he was also responsible for the resale contracting division, the efficient and effective movement of subsistence to overseas commissaries through the Defense Transportation System, a $120 million-plus program. He also had oversight of the guard and reserve on-site sales program and the functional business systems store support team.
In 2007, Burns served as deputy director for DeCA West, headquartered in McClellan, California, where he was responsible for operational oversight of 68 commissaries in 15 states, with annual sales that exceeded $1.7 billion. In 2006, he served as director of operations for DeCA East, headquartered at Fort Lee, Virginia. In that capacity, he was responsible for tasks focused on store-level support and improvement for the 99 commissaries within that region.
Burns began his commissary career in 1984, when he began working cooperative internships with the Army commissary system while still attending college. He subsequently served in a variety of assignments within the commissary system, including many special projects at headquarters and region levels. Within his most recent special project served from January through July 2013, he was the team leader and senior advisor to the DeCA director reference the DOD resource management directive directed study on commissary benefit. He worked closely with DOD and various DeCA personnel to gather and analyze various ideas, initiatives and concepts that were considered part of the department’s study with a purpose to reduce appropriated funded dollars while ensuring continued relevance of the commissary benefit.