When NDTA began, it did so with the stated goal of creating trust and knowledge between the military, government civilians and leaders of the transportation industry. Today, NDTA has broadened its scope to include logistics, passenger travel services, and professional training while maintaining its status as a non-political, non-profit educational organization. Its membership has expanded from senior members of the military, government and industry to include junior members of these organizations and students studying logistics.
NDTA's broadened scope permitted me to gain increased knowledge for any organization with which I was associated while simultaneously increasing my personal value. There is no doubt that NDTA was instrumental to my successful military and commercial career in logistics.
The first NDTA Forum I attended in 1988 was as a Senior Captain assigned to the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), now the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), and proved to be an eye-opening experience. The theme, Deterrence Thru Deployment, was so appropriate as the US Military would deploy into Kuwait in less than two years utilizing commercial airlift and sealift. Senior military officers were on panels discussing the difficulties moving large Army, and industry leaders were concerned with how their companies would support the US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). More importantly, these senior people were interested in speaking to junior officers and sharing their experience. I didn't know it at the time, but they were probably trying to identify individuals who had potential to be worthy of their time as a mentor.
The theme of the NDTA Forum in 1998, Partners in Power Projection, was the centerpiece of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the US ocean and air carriers were heavily used during the deployment and sustainment of this campaign. Many of the people I met ten years earlier were now in more senior positions at their companies. Our long-term relationships made it easier to coordinate, smoothing aspects of the deployment for which I was responsible.
The NDTA Conference in 2008, with the theme, The Global Enterprise, was quite appropriate. Discussions and panels centered on the international supply chain. All US-flag ocean and air companies were connected worldwide. Having retired from the military two years earlier, it seemed amazing how commercial and military logistics worked together on a daily basis.