FORT GREGG-ADAMS, Va. — Building relationships to get ready for future sustainment needs was one of the themes of a gathering of industry, academic and Department of Defense thought leaders.
U.S. Combined Arms Support Command hosted the inaugural Contested Logistics Industry Week from Sept. 12- 14 at the Army Sustainment University to foster these key partnerships. CASCOM, Sustainment Capability Development Integration Directorate and the Contested Logistics Cross Functional team gathered more than 160 vendors, leaders and military personnel over the course of three days to exchange information, learn best practices and discuss emerging trends.
Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, CASCOM commanding general, welcomed attendees on the first day with opening remarks. He discussed how collaboration is essential to the Sustainment Warfighting Function as we prepare to sustain the Army 2040, which was the main theme for this year’s event.
“The Army is at a transformative stage in preparation for the challenges of the modern battlefield,” said Simerly. “We must address tomorrow’s problems, today.”
The event included industry and technology vendor displays, discussion panels, presentations, and briefings about data education, artificial intelligence, machine learning, Army maritime capabilities, autonomous vessels, power generation, demand reduction, advanced manufacturing, and Training with Industry.
Gen. Charles Hamiliton, Army Materiel Command commanding general, served as the day’s keynote speaker, discussing why sustainment is important to the warfighting mission, and how industry partners can help the military.
“Most good ideas come from industry partners,” he said. “You bring the ideas to the table. You care and you are interested in solving these tough problems.”
Maj. Gen. Heidi Hoyle, HQDA G4, echoed Simerly and Hamilton in her speech on the third and final day of CLIW.
During her remarks, Hoyle focused on how contested logistics will help the Army operate strategically in a multi-domain operating environment and how industry and academic partners can help the mission.
“I challenge our industry partners out there to continue to think about demand reduction, advanced manufacturing, academic partnerships, and training with industry,” Hoyle said. “There are many things that the Army can learn from you.”
Simerly wrapped up the event with closing remarks, inviting partners to contact Army leaders.
“If you are an industry partner and you see an opportunity, contact us, don’t be shy,” Simerly said.
He also welcomed attendees to return for the 2nd Annual Contested Logistics Industry Week, indicating an August timeframe.
“We intend to do this next year, save the date,” he added. “We are so grateful for the support and participation.”
Retired Brig. Gen. Jack Haley, Association of the U.S. Army; Col. March Callis, S-CDID; and Col. Shane Upton, CL-CFT also spoke on the first day of the event.
Day two centered around the 2nd Annual Data Symposium, an event hosted by Sydney Smith, Army Sustainment University president at Larkin Hall Conference Center. It was presented in a hybrid model to allow CLIW attendees to watch the three panel discussions from ASU.
“Sustainment Data in a Contested Logistics Environment” panel, focused on how the Sustainment Enterprise can leverage data to support sustainment efforts. Participants on the panel included: Col. Matthew Western, CASCOM SMC, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gregory Besaw, HQDA G4, Dr. Christopher Hill, Army Materiel Command Analysis Group, and Mr. Kenneth Beam, HQDA G46.
The “Data Driven Education Initiatives Academia partner” panel discussed, data programs, curriculums, and the implementation of trending technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Participants included: Dr. Jeffrey Shockley, Virginia Commonwealth University, Mr. George Topic, Center for Joint and Strategic Logistics, Dr. Mark Cecchini, University of South Carolina, Mr. Peter Ward, Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Jeffery Witsken, Mission Command Center of Excellence, and Dr. William Smith, Army Sustainment University.
The day wrapped with the “Industry Partner” panel, with discussions on investing in employee professional development and effects of emerging technology on business operations. Panel participants included: Mr. Banks Coggin, FEDEX, Mr. Terrance Westerfield, Amazon Web Services, Mr. Jared Summers, LMI, Mr. Art Sellers, Spark Cognition, Mr. Kevin Samples, National Defense Industrial Association, and Mr. William Johnson, Leidos.
Day three also included Ordnance, Quartermaster, and Transportation school commandant’s moderated panel discussions pertaining to topics to support operations in a contested environment: advanced manufacturing; operational energy and demand reduction; and maritime capabilities, respectively.
Ordnance panel participants included: CW3 Matthew Ditto, Training Development ODS, Dr. Monty Meston, S-CDID, CW3 Bailey, Allied Trades, Mr. Zunino, DEVCOM, and Dr. McBirney, RAND Corporation, moderated by Brig. Gen. Steven Allen.
Quartermaster panel participants included: Dan Jakeila, Plasan North America, Lt. Col. Thomas Beyerl, PM Mobile Electric Power Systems, J.C. Cameron, World Fuel Services, and James Meyer, Army Petroleum Center, moderated by Col. Jin Pak.
Transportation panel participants included: Chief Warrant Officer 5(R) Mike Wichterman, Sustainment – Capability Development Integration Directorate, Ms. Zina Koazak-Zachery, U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Combat Support & Combat Service Support, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Nicholas Laferte, Transportation Organization Integrator, Col. Peter Koch, HQDA G4/5/7 Chief Mobility Division. and Maj. Gen.(R) Edward Dorman, HQE-SM, moderated by Col. Timothy Zetterwall.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Danny Taylor, CASCOM Command Chief Warrant Officer, facilitated a Training with Industry panel discussion, were he talked to past participants of the program.
Panelists were Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cody Olsen, a senior automotive maintenance warrant officer (915E), Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Jones, a motor transport operator (88M), Master Sgt. Keithlen McCoy, a culinary specialist (92G), and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Melissa Sloniger, a supply systems technician (920B).
The next Contested Logistics Industry Week is slated for late Summer of 2024.