When you stop learning ...

Author:Buzby, Mark H.

Former Chief of Naval Operations ADM Vern Clark was quite fond of saying: "When you stop learning, you start becoming irrelevant." As if to underscore that point, upon our promotion to Flag rank, he presented all of us newly-minted admirals with a duffle bag full of books, and pushed us into executive-level "mini-MBA" type courses in the months that followed. His goal was to ensure that his senior leadership team didn't become irrelevant.

Over the past year or so, NDTA has looked at ways to enhance the "education" part of our mission by providing opportunity for our members to participate in more structured learning, beyond just listening to a speaker at one of our meetings. As beneficial and interesting as that may be, we were only reaching a fraction of our membership, and then only for an hour at a time. We weren't getting there.

Last year's University Day, held as a part of our Fall Meeting, was our initial oar in the water to up the ante and provide a richer learning environment to our attendees. US-TRANSCOM Commander Gen Darren McDew co-sponsored the initiative and provided many of the 20 courses that were offered last year. He absolutely understands the value to his people and to the industry. With his strong backing, we return this year with nearly 60 course offerings and seminars across a wide range of topics. We're calling it "Transportation University" and enrollment is brisk; as I write this in late summer, some courses are already closed out.

Transportation University is just the start, though. I think there is more we can do to build NDTA's learning portfolio, and we have been looking at where to go next. Those efforts have led us to explore more long-term educational opportunities which would benefit not only current membership, but future membership as well. We've used these guidelines as we've gone forward:

* NDTA professional development and educational efforts remain principally focused on the transportation component of supply chains while including a broad supply chain management focus.

* While our roots are in "Defense," our strategic aperture widens by recognizing that transportation is the key enabler for three elements of national power: Political, Economic and Military. And, it is enabled by a fourth--Information.

* We will develop, design and create linkages, in conjunction...

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