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News | April 7, 2022

Defense Supplier Conference returns to Columbus, Ohio

By Chris Erbe DLA Public Affairs

After a four-year hiatus, Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime and the National Defense Industry Association brought the DLA Land and Maritime Supplier Conference and Exhibition back to downtown Columbus, Ohio, April 6-7. More than 800 defense industry representatives packed a ballroom in the Greater Columbus Convention Center for first day speakers, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment Steven Morani, DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic, and DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Kristen Fabry.

Fabry welcomed attendees, saying, “It is imperative that we take these opportunities to get together and to work toward common goals with a uniform understanding of the challenges ahead.”

Gov. DeWine delivered a pro-military message to the audience. “Ohio truly cherishes its military installations,” he said. “We work very hard to make Ohio one of the most military-friendly states in the nation. That is our goal.”

Organizers hold the conference every two years but cancelled the event in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s event is being held completely in person with no virtual participation.

Skubic’s remarks reflected her concern for the health of the defense industrial base. 

“One of DLA’s most important strategic lines of effort involves strengthening defense industries, creating more resilient supply chains, and encouraging domestic capabilities for key industry sectors,” she said.

Collaborative breakouts occurred throughout the conference on a range of topics including additive manufacturing, microchips, future requirements, contracting and supply chain security. 

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment Steven Morani also spoke on the first day of the conference. His remarks focused on the Department’s efforts to strengthen the health of the Defense Industrial Base, as well as a review of the Logistics and Materiel Readiness Strategic Plan.

More than 60 exhibitors staffed booths displaying their products with a backdrop of several enormous up-armored military vehicles. In all, more than 200 defense industry companies were represented among attendees. 

The DLA Land and Maritime Supplier Conference and Exhibition continued through April 7 with keynote speeches from Marine Maj. Gen. David Maxwell, Vice Director for the Joint Staff; Army Maj. Gen. Mark Simerly, commanding general of the U.S. Combined Arms Support Command; and Navy Vice Adm. William Galinis, commander for Naval Sea Systems Command.