News | April 8, 2022

DLA Land & Maritime focuses on industry partnerships and emerging technology on second day of supplier conference

By James Harless DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

The 2022 Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Supplier Conference and Exhibition concluded April 7 following a day filled with informative speakers from defense and industry, collaborative breakout sessions and discussion panels focused on improving communication and relationships with industry partners, as well as identifying new opportunities to support the Warfighter.

The two-day event was designed to provide in person engagement opportunities for military, government and industry leaders from across the nation. Hundreds of attendees had the opportunity to network and engage in discussions aimed to improve supply chain support in a contested environment.

Day two speakers placed an emphasis on additive manufacturing, microchips, future requirements, contracting and supply chain security. Breakout sessions focused on future manpower, innovative and emerging technology and the growing need for small businesses in supporting Warfighter readiness and response capabilities.

DLA Land and Maritime Deputy Commander Kenneth D. Watson in his opening remarks on day two of the event, thanked all in attendance and encouraged everyone to take full advantage of the opportunity to network and engage in meaningful dialogue to deepen relationships and provide new opportunities for partnerships that will strengthen the logistical support DLA Land and Maritime provides to the Warfighter and their customers.

“We’re here today to collaborate on ways to continue to build quality and reliability into the logistics support we provide our Warfighters and customers,” Watson said.  “Our efforts can help reduce obsolescence from systems and platforms we provide to our services while ensuring sustained support to our customers. Our customers demand and deserve superior logistics that DLA [Land and Maritime] provides.”

In addition to Watson, the second day of the conference featured presentations by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen David Maxwell, Vice Director for the Joint Staff, J4; Dr. Chris Michienzi, Chief Technology Officer for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment; Army Maj. Gen. Mark Simerly, commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command, the Sustainment Center of Excellence and Fort Lee; and Naval Sea Systems Command Commander Navy Vice Adm. William Galinis.

In addition to the senior military and government speakers, Land and Maritime leadership invited  Nanda Kumar, president of Eaton’s Aerospace Group, to address digital fabrication technology. Often referred to as 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, this technology creates physical objects from a geometrical representation by successive addition of materials.

“3D printing is game-changing technology of the future,” Kumar said. “In my mind our competition – and when I say competition here, I’m talking about China – China’s getting on this technology quickly and they’re much faster than we are in terms of certifying and bringing product to the field. So, for us to stay ahead as a country here on technology and be on the cutting edge we’ve got to cut through some of the certification timeline so we can bring the technology to life much faster than we’re able to today. I view [this conference] as a great opportunity for me to make that plea to my customers here,” Kumar added.

Kumar continued by echoing Watson’s opening remarks and sentiment by agreeing with the emphasis on the invaluable aspect of having the opportunity to once again have face-to-face interactions and in-person networking opportunities.

“I think coming out of the pandemic, to me, the biggest value of this conference is rebuilding relationships with customers, but the bigger benefit is also the power of networks at events like this,” Kumar said. “This is where you really come out and meet people from different parts of the industry – you learn a lot of things which you can never do in a virtual format. The high value added in these kinds of conversations is when you come off of a presentation and you’re having coffee and that’s where you meet people. So, the power of networking in my mind is incredible when you come to a conference like this. You always gain a perspective like what are the customers real pressure points or pain points? And you don’t get that understanding unless you’re listening to multiple customers, and you start picking up themes associated with that.”

DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Kristen Fabry closed out the conference by reminding all those in attendance that mission success is impacted by multiple factors and a contested logistical environment can only be overcome by the efforts of teamwork and keeping communication open.

“The most crucial factor to the success of our mission is keeping communication channels open,” Fabry said. “That’s why forums like this are so important, this is our shared opportunity to see each other face-to-face and ask those burning questions; whether you’re a small business just getting started or a large business looking to expand.  Don’t let the conversations stop here. Take the connections you’ve forged here and continue the dialogue.”

“To all of our participants, thank you for sharing your perspectives over the past two days. As we move forward, these kinds of open, candid exchanges are essential to ensuring we develop effective solutions that strengthen our industrial base and provide supply chain stability for our Warfighters across the globe,” Fabry concluded.

Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Kristen Fabry greets Ohio Governor Mike DeWine April 6 prior to his remarks welcoming nearly 800 defense industry representatives to the Greater Columbus Convention Center for the 2022 DLA Land and Maritime Supplier Conference and Exhibition. 

See more photos in our event Image Gallery