Fall Meeting Brings Military and Industry Logistics Leaders Together
The four-day action-packed National Defense Transportation Association, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) 2022 Fall Meeting was filled with five keynote sessions, two roundtable discussions, 64 interactive Transportation Academy sessions, and vendor booths filled four halls of the historic Union Station in St. Louis.
The theme for this year’s session was “Defense Transportation & Logistics…Evolving the Strategic Advantage.”
Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander, USTRANSCOM, kicked off the Fall Meeting, and during her keynote address, she discussed the importance of the conference.
“This year’s Fall Meeting has already generated important conversations and with major topics like China’s implication for the United States, our National Defense Strategy, and cyber security, I expect they will only get better,” said Van Ovost during her opening comments. This year’s theme of “evolving the strategic advantage” is well timed and I cannot overemphasize the need for our organizations to rapidly adapt to the realities of strategic competition. We need you with us, all the way.”
Van Ovost highlighted the opportunities and challenges the transportation enterprise faces in this decisive decade.
“Today, our logistical prowess remains on full display as we balance the rigors of our global mission, while ensuring Ukraine receives the aid necessary to defend their nation. Current events, driven primarily by the acute threat posed by Russia, remind us that logistics is a critical warfighting function,” the commander said. “China has shaped their instruments of national power to erode, disrupt, or destroy our ability to oppose their revisionist aspirations. Undoubtedly, our enterprise will play an increasingly critical role in achieving our national defense objectives. To succeed, we must adopt the mentality that challenge is not synonymous with impossible, and contested is not the same as impenetrable. Significant opportunities exist in this environment to exploit our expertise to deploy, maneuver, and sustain the joint force.”
Van Ovost’s keynote presentation left lasting impressions on the hundreds of transportation professionals in attendance.
“I thought General Van Ovost highlighted the importance of global transportation, and logistics, and highlighted all our efforts in Ukraine, which is very impressive,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Ken Bridgewater, commander, Task Force 33.
While the keynote sessions were very impactful, the plethora of academy sessions allowed military, civilians, contractors, and industry partners to socialize, and share experiences that will better grow their ability to engage in a highly contested and competitive environment.
“My biggest takeaway from this experience was just the breadth and depth of civilian partnership engagement that is required to execute the daily mission of USTRANSCOM,” said U.S. Army Maj. Stephen Coley, liaison, U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.
The two roundtable sessions hosted members from the services, academia, and commercial industries and focused on technology and cybersecurity.
“It makes me think how much information we are making easily available to the enemy,” said Army Maj. David Perez, executive officer, 833rd Transportation Battalion.
As the sessions wrapped-up on the final day, Van Ovost’s message of, “we must continue to empower a competitive and resilient warfighting team. You are the ones who will ensure we can compete now, and in the future,” was clear to all.
“We have to be prepared, and the only way we are going to do that is to come together as a group, no one can go it alone, we definitely need our industry partners to be able to achieve our mission,” said Gina Lee, chief, Airlift Division, Directorate of Acquisition, USTRANSCOM.
Next year’s Fall Meeting is scheduled to be held in Orlando, Fla. from Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2023.
By USTRANSCOM Public Affairs