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Leadership Perspective – INDUSTRY


NDTA Members’ Support of USTRANSCOM By William J. Kenwell


Vice Chairman, NDTA & Chairman, Industry Committee T


he theme of this year’s Fall Meet- ing suggests there are many ways in which we as individuals and we as


‘commercial companies’ within the global transportation industry can support US Transportation Command, the Depart- ment of Defense and US national security. Like many of you, I have been fortunate


to work for a number of companies while expanding my knowledge of transporta- tion and logistics in ocean transporta- tion, technology, rail and the 3PL world. I joined NDTA in 1991 as a Lifetime Member. At that time, I was overseeing several business units of Sea-Land Service, Inc, including our US flag military and government business. From 2006-2013, I ran Maersk Line, Limited’s liner and RoRo service supporting the military and government business around the world. Today I am honored to be the Vice Chair- man of NDTA and Chairman of its In- dustry Committee. Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), our member companies moved goods from depots to depots, depots to ports, ports to ports and air ports to air ports. In WWI and WWII, ocean liners and freighters were drafted to move our forces and their materiel to debarkation points. During the Vietnam War com- mercial airlines began to move forces to/ from Vietnam and ocean carriers began to move materiel and sustainment cargoes under government bills of lading. Industry’s role changed dramatically with OIF and OEF. The transportation industry took on greater responsibility and risk during both surge and sustain- ment operations. Partnering with US- TRANSCOM, we leveraged our existing commercial operations in Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Transporta- tion companies now moved our military from “factory to foxhole.” Under the di- rection of USTRANSCOM, its compo- nent commands and the Defense Logistics Agency, NDTA’s transportation members


delivered food and materiel to and from the contingency area. We operated in the most disruptive, austere and dangerous environments. We


experienced attacks


to our transportation network, we lost personnel, lost gateways and created new ones, developed a multi-modal capability and achieved success by any measure. What does all this mean, you may ask.


From my perspective, “industry is the pre-positioned force of the US Military.” Our members provide truck and rail ser- vices throughout the contiguous US. Our Jones Act ocean carriers provide service to the domestic offshore markets of Alaska, Hawaii/Guam, and Puerto Rico; and our international ocean and air carriers in the Maritime Security Program (MSP) and Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) enable service to foreign locations in virtually ev- ery country or adjacent to every country the US Military may need to be for future contingency operations. Our internation- al companies provide our military with logistics capabilities, port access, trucking, warehousing, customs and inland trans- portation, and, perhaps most importantly, these companies have relationships with the local governments. Our military is able to take advantage of a global network and infrastructure that augments organic capability of the US Military. Our govern- ment cannot duplicate this commercial capability. It is a national treasure we can- not take for granted. It is incumbent upon us all, civilian and military, to ensure that industry partners are commercially viable, thus enabling readiness in this disruptive environment. At this Fall Meeting between our mili-


tary, DOD, and commercial leaders we will all learn about the disruptive threats we jointly face. This is a time of volatility and uncertainty for both the DOD and the defense transportation industry. The economy, defense budget cuts, sequestra- tion, turbulent political and social climate, strategic shift to the Pacific, uncertainty of state actors such as Russia, China, North


Korea and Iran, coupled with Violent Ex- tremist Organizations (VEOs), cyber at- tacks, and our own national elections are all potential disruptors to our national security. In every scenario, industry must work closely with each other and with US- TRANCOM to develop the best capabili- ties to thwart these threats. First and foremost, we need to ensure a foundation of trust with our partners. We do this through communication, collabo- ration and transparency. We must be ac- tive listeners. We must articulate the de- sired outcome and allow all participants to suggest and create solutions. Above all we need to continually educate our people; provide them the tools and the time to learn: for it is through this learn- ing that we will overcome the disruption we will face. I like to create to do lists for myself. Here


are some to do items that industry and USTRANSCOM may wish to consider, especially as we enjoy a more peaceful pe- riod: JPAGs, Turbo Challenge Exercises, streamlining (contract simplification, forecasting, in-transit visibility), and how to ensure operational requirements drive contracts requirements. Now is the time to examine pilot shortages, both military and commercial; best practices for ground operations, safety and security and cyber security. In addition to creating my to do list, I maintain a very active to read list. I would like to suggest three books that have had an impact on my professional career, and perhaps you too may enjoy: The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and a Epic Quest to Arm an America at War by A. J. Baime; Impact Without Authority by Jane Helsing; and Global Reach – Revolutionizing the Use of Commercial Vessel and Intermodal Systems for Military Sealift, 1990-2012 by VADM A. J. Herberger, USN (Ret.), Ken- neth Gaulden, and CDR Rolf Marshall, USN (Ret.). It is a privilege for NDTA and its mem- bers to stand shoulder to shoulder with our men and women in uniform, and to serve them in meeting their logistical needs as they perform their sacred duty for our Nation. God bless them and God bless America. DTJ


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