FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
The Defense Logistics Agency Research and Development team brought together leaders in industry, academia, historically Black colleges and universities, small businesses and trade associations during the second annual Industry Collider Day Sept. 8. The virtual event was held to expand and diversify DLA’s partnerships as the agency modernizes its processes and systems.
The six-hour event attracted 1,100 registrants – nearly double from last year – and provided 24 sessions featuring topics ranging from rare earths and advanced batteries and fuels to artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
DLA Research and Development Operations Integrator Martina Johnson encouraged attendees to think outside the box.
“We need your talents, fresh minds and fresh thoughts,” she told attendees. “We are the leader in combat logistics, but we aren’t the leader without you.”
DLA Chief Information Officer George Duchak welcomed attendees, telling them “none of us are as smart as all of us.”
“DLA is once again sharing our challenges and investing in solutions because engaging the commercial sector is often the fastest and most cost-efficient way of solving complex problems,” he said, pointing to the military’s need for autonomous vehicles that can resupply troops without human involvement as an example.
“As industry’s interest in autonomous vehicles grew, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hosted a driverless car competition in 2004 that helped jumpstart a major boom in industry research and development,”Duchak said.
During the event’s “collision” portion, Director of DLA Research and Development David Koch encouraged industry and academia partners to use the forum as an opportunity to meet, connect and collaborate with DLA project managers.
The event concluded with the awarding of seven small business contracts in response to solicitations DLA issued in the previous weeks for research and development proposals on several technology domains. The solicitations, known as broad agency announcements, included detailed problem statements and challenges DLA faces.
Industry Collider Day is part of DLA’s industry engagement plan and supports warfighters and federal customers by resulting in more effective collaboration with industry and a stronger supply chain.
Suppliers can provide candid data on their experience conducting business with DLA from pre-solicitation through delivery and closeout during the biennial Supplier Feedback Survey.
For more information about the event or DLA R&D, contact Logistics.Research@dla.mil.