Industry Speaks: Perspective from the Fourth Component.

The NDTA-USTRANSCOM Fall Meeting would not be complete without perspective from the fourth component--industry. Leading this portion of the program, Mr. Tom Crowley, Jr., CEO of Crowley Maritime Corp., provided the industry keynote address.

He highlighted challenges commercial companies are facing as they support DOD and Homeland Security missions. These challenges included contested environments around the globe, rising world powers, safety concerns during activation, the increasing frequency and intensity of hurricanes and other natural disasters, labor shortages, technology deployment and the connection between varying systems, and cyber threats to those systems and throughout our network.

Crowley commented that consistent maritime policy, like the Jones Act and cargo preference in MSP, that upholds a healthy American merchant marine and a formidable capability to build vessels we need to project ourselves is paramount. When it comes to labor shortages, he implored the audience to share the benefits of careers in transportation and logistics in order to attract more young people to these professions. Discussions and action are happening and/or needed between military and industry to help in dealing with cyber security, threats to trade routes and supply chains, restrictive practices that continue to impede commercial efficiencies, the under-funding of our defense industrial base, and concerns over emergency requirements in contracts.

While the industry faces many challenges, Crowley saw benefits to DOD and industry working together. Crowley Maritime's customer base is approximately 85 percent industry and 15 percent government. Working in both sectors allows the company to provide commercial innovations to government customers, and apply lessons learned through government services to their commercial clients. DOD relies on industry to ensure the defense transportation system works, and that missions and Warfighters are supported.

Speaking of opportunities ahead, Crowley said that government and commercial investment is required for infrastructure, assets and personnel. This will be critical to remaining...

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