This speech was delivered by Frederick W. Smith, Chairman & CEO of FedEx, on October 11, 2017 during the NDTA-USTRANSCOM Fall Meeting. It has been reformatted and reprinted here in its entirety with permission.
It's a pleasure to be here today, and I'd like to thank Chairman of NDTA's board Bill Flynn and Retired Admiral Mark Buzby for the invitation. I've known Bill for many years, and it was an offer I was pleased to accept since the National Defense Transportation Association is so important to FedEx. And under your great leadership, Mark, the NDTA has flourished. I know the same is happening at the Maritime Administration since you've taken the helm there.
Congratulations also and welcome to Vice Admiral Andy Brown, the incoming President and CEO of this great organization, which FedEx has worked with for 42 years. During that time, many FedEx team members have worked closely with the NDTA. Some of them are here today, and I'd like to thank them for their service to the NDTA. Would you please stand?
No one knows better than this audience how important it is to get things places efficiently and safely, be it food, artillery, or information. I first learned that lesson as a Marine in Vietnam when I saw the challenges the military faced in distributing 760,000 tons of supplies each month there.
Those operations made a strong impression on me that played into the founding and development of FedEx which, as you know, created a new industry based on moving goods and information fast and efficiently. As FedEx has grown, we now deliver not only by planes and trucks, but also by rail, ship, the Internet--and even bicycles.
If you think about it, transportation isn't just the bedrock of organizations such as the NDTA and FedEx; transportation is at the heart of all we do as humans. Since the beginning of civilization, the world has depended on transportation and its infrastructure to move people, animals, and goods from location A to Z and all points in between.
And as infrastructure became mote intricate, nations had to make sure their networks were safe and reliable. In the United States, organizations like the Departments of Defense and Transportation have long protected our nation, its citizens, and our infrastrucrure from threats seen and unseen.
That's where units like the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) play a critical role to the DOD and to out nation's air mobility resources. FedEx is proud to be a CRAF member, along with 23 other air carriers. We believe ir's our patriotic duty to use our transportation network and logistics expertise to help our troops and our country.
The partnership among the NDTA, the United States Transportation Command and CRAF provides a non-political framework for solving today's logistics challenges.
Today I'd like to talk to you about several of those challenges--three topics critical to out industty and our nation:
* First, the current state of America, both politically and economically, and how that affects our ability to get things done;
* Second, the current state of transportation, both its issues and some new technology; and
* Third, the growing threat of cybersecurity.
Let's turn our attention first to the state of America.
Our economy is growing too slowly. We've been muddling along at one to two percent GDP growth, but need to return to the three percent rate America enjoyed for so long. Our national debt has grown to over 100% of GDP since 2006. We owe more than $20 trillion.
Federal investment is at the lowest level since the late 1940s as a percent of GDP, and business investment is also muted. That's unfortunate since investment is a key driver of job growth.
While dealing with these issues, we're also facing one...