“Ensuring a strong national defense takes all of us working together, identifying and working through challenges,” said NDTA President and CEO VADM William “Andy” Brown, USN (Ret.), during his opening remarks at the Surface Force Projection Conference (SFPC). The conference took place May 15-18, 2023, on the Christopher Newport University (CNU) campus in Newport News, Virginia.

Brown served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. During the opening ceremony, the Tabb High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (NJROTC) presented the colors and Mr. Jonathan “Jack” Svoboda, Surface Distribution Program Manager, US Transportation Command, sang the National Anthem.

The opening ceremony also featured comments by Dr. Nathan Busch, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Co-Director, Center for American Studies, Christopher Newport University; MG Gavin Lawrence, USA, Commanding General, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command; and Mr. Kevin Tokarski, SES, Associate Administrator for Strategic Sealift, MARAD; and Chair, National Port Readiness Network (NPRN) Steering Group.

The SFPC, which focuses on ports and surface deployment and distribution issues, is built upon a partnership between NDTA, CNU’s Center for American Studies, the Maritime Administration (MARAD), and the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC).

“This year we are recognizing the need for deployment speed and we’re examining the shift from brigade combat teams in small-scale deployments to larger core and division-sized movements to understand the impact on our ports and our logistics and the transportation capability and capacity,” said Brown. “The question we should ask ourselves as logisticians: ‘Are we able to meet the requirements in the time needed to support combatant commanders?’ That’s why we’re here.”


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