Event promotes dialogue on defense industry, future sustainment

By John Dwyer III DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Employees at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support gained insight on industry’s corporate support to the Department of Defense during an event Nov. 20 in Philadelphia.

The event was intended to facilitate understanding and provoke recommendations for the development of future supply chain solutions, and was hosted under the umbrella of the Campaign of Learning, a Troop Support program with the same intent.

“There are lots of ways to organize a defense industrial base,” said keynote speaker Martin Bollinger, a visiting Darden Business School executive lecturer and former Booz Allen Hamilton senior partner. “The way we do it today has only been around for about 20 years. We’ve never done it like that before.”

The Campaign of Learning encourages partnering with academia, industry and the military services to better understand the challenges and opportunities the agency will be faced with in the near-to-long term, such as a changing industrial base.

To that end, Bollinger discussed the development of the defense industrial base over time, providing context to the historical changes in the landscape.

“We’re left with a defense industry that doesn’t look anything like it used to,” Bollinger said. “And the reason that’s important is that in the old days … [defense industry companies] had a culture that was both defense and commercial and it moved technology back and forth pretty easily. That just doesn’t exist today.”

Bollinger also provided an overview of the “event driven” changes that occurred and discussed the history of the last 40 years of government policy, process and outreach efforts that were designed to improve partnerships.

The presentation resonated with some employees who were not previously aware of the history or complexity of this challenge.

“Working in the military and under the DOD for 35 years instilled in me that our defense industrial base would always be stable and dependable,” said John Mumbower, Industrial Hardware quality assurance team supervisor and Air National Guardsman. “I now realize the only constant is change. If we are going to continue to provide the best weapon systems for the war fighter we need situational awareness of the changes occurring in our manufacturing base.”