The Official Newsletter of The National Defense Transportation Association

December 4, 2019

GovTravels Announces New Keynote Speaker Lisa W. Hershman

By Kimberly Huth, Director of Public Relations

The 2020 GovTravels Symposium planning is in full swing, and we are happy to announce one of our keynote speakers. Lisa W. Hershman, Performing the Duties of the Chief Management Officer.

Ms. Hershman is a recognized thought leader in business transformation who brings extensive private sector expertise to her service in the Department of Defense. She is the principal management officer for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense responsible for delivering optimize enterprise business operations to assure the success of the National Defense Strategy.

We look forward to sharing more as we develop the agenda. For more information on the GovTravels Symposium or to register, please visit

REMINDER: Join NDTA Headquarters this week in supporting the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

Is Sealift Ready for Great Power Competition?

By Sharon Lo Managing Editor, Defense Transportation Journal and The Source

UTRANSCOM recently completed a no-notice turbo activation exercise. This consisted of rapidly activating a mix of Military Sealift Command and Maritime Administration Ready Reserve ships on the East, West, and Gulf Coasts. The exercise validated the readiness of selected ships and tested their ability to meet activation time standards and Department of Defense mission requirements.

So how’s our long game?

The exercise confirmed our ability to rapidly project sealift power in the short term. But are we ready to reliably transport and sustain forces over greater distances and a longer time frame? The answer is maybe not. In such a (likely) scenario, the US could fall short in accessing the fuel and manpower it needs. And that’s not all we have to consider.

We are going to need ships

The United States will conduct over a trillion dollars in trade with other nations this year, much of it by sea. However, virtually none of the ships engaged in that trade will be built in America. The US used to lead the global shipbuilding industry several decades back. Currently, it isn’t even second-rate when it comes to building container ships and tankers for international trade. The main reason is foreign government subsidies to shipbuilders in China, Japan, and South Korea—subsidies that Washington ceased providing to its own shipbuilders in 1981. The US shipbuilding industry would be gone completely today except for one thing: The Jones Act. […]

Ensuring Warfighter Readiness Through Industry Networks

By Sharon Lo Managing Editor, Defense Transportation Journal and The Source

The US-flag fleet is ranked 22nd internationally. Its numbers fall well below the top three nations of Panama, the Marshall Islands, and Liberia, which collectively account for 40 percent of registered ships. Ninety percent of the world’s ships are built in Asia, primarily China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. Of the Top 20 container ports in the world, only one (LA/Long Beach) is in the United States, and it barely made the list. Should we be satisfied with this state of affairs? Eric Ebeling, President & CEO, American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier Group, posed this question to the audience during his keynote speech at the 2019 NDTA-USTRANSCOM Fall Meeting.

Ship count by itself is a crude and sometimes misleading metric but provides some insight he explained. The number of US-flag ships engaged in foreign commerce in 1993 was 116 ships, falling to 76 ships by 1997. This number rebounded slightly back to 85 ships by 2002. In 2012 the US was close to 120 ships, but that is currently back down around 85 ships. What happened during that timeframe? The numbers were affected by the Maritime Security Program (MSP) in 1996 and the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) shortly after that on the policy side, and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom on the cargo side. […]

Pentagon R&D Boss: The Challenge of Our Time
(Defense News)  What near-term risks are we willing to take and what current systems are we willing to let go so that we can invest in capabilities that will impose costs on our adversaries and deter them from starting a fight because they know they cannot win?

Hahn Air Gives Blockchain Booking a Test Run
(Travel Weekly) Hahn Air, the Germany-based interline distribution specialist that also runs a tiny airline has flown what it says are the first passengers in the world whose tickets were enabled by blockchain.

US Senators Introduce ‘Women in Trucking’ Bill
(FreightWaves) Two U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to take a formal role in supporting women drivers.

Real-Time Tracking: Solving the Complexity
(DSV-Panalpina) Logistics providers are moving closer to solving the complexity of tracking cargo shipments in real-time.

Trade News – Reflections of a Challenging Year in Global Trade
(Crane Worldwide Logistics) Thus far, 2019 has been a challenging year for international trade, impacted greatly by increased regulations and tariffs.

What’s Holding Your Business Back from Automating Travel, Expense, and Invoice Management?
(SAP Concur) Manual and spreadsheet-driven processes are costly and inefficient at any scale, not just for big businesses.

Pete Pflugrath to Lead LMI’s Logistics Service Line
(LMI) LMI has announced that Pete Pflugrath will lead its Logistics service line, recognized for its deep expertise in supply chain management; maintenance and operational logistics; acquisition and lifecycle management; and infrastructure, energy, and environment.

Reaping the rewards of Robotic Process Automation
(Agility) Two ships carrying identical cargoes have just docked at a busy port—their experiences are very different due to one ship’s use of robotic process automation.

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