After a two-year hiatus, nearly two hundred leaders from government, industry, and academia gathered at NCMS’s 2022 Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA) Partners Meeting, held May 3-5 in Virginia Beach, VA. Focused on advancing the development and adoption of key maintenance and sustainment (M&S) technologies, the Partners Meeting provided a forum for experts to exchange information about successful projects and to address challenges.
Keynote speaker Steve Morani, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, shared details on the DOD’s Logistics and Materiel Readiness Strategic Plan 2022-28. He recognized CTMA as a long-standing program that fulfills the DOD’s intent to solve some of its biggest challenges. For M&S demonstration, evaluation, and validation efforts, CTMA provides program and project management, contract expertise, and financial oversight to ensure that project results are delivered on time and on budget.
Mr. Morani spoke enthusiastically about CTMA collaborations: “The DOD can’t do it alone—we need our industry and academic partners to be successful.” He added, “We have great, innovative technologies and now we need to work on transition and adoption.”
The second keynote speaker, Col. Howard K. Marotto, Additive Manufacturing Business Director for EWI, delivered an address titled, “Innovation in the DOD—Is It Possible?” Col. Marotto believes that innovation in the DOD is indeed possible. He spoke about lessons learned while referencing the Marine Corps’ NEXLOG project, an initiative to identify emerging technology opportunities and enable accelerated development and transition to the warfighter.
Panel presentations focused on both legacy and emerging technologies required to maintain and advance military capabilities and equipment. In the introduction to the Sustainment Technology Program Panel, moderator Steve McKee, Director, Enterprise Maintenance Technology Office, ODASD-MR, spoke about how the DOD’s new sustainment policy (DODI 5000.92, “Innovation and Technology to Sustain Materiel Readiness”), effective May 7, 2021, aligns with the CTMA mission.
He also referenced a strategic initiative dubbed the “Hermes’ Sprint,” an effort to implement DODI 5000.92. The Hermes’ Sprint addresses procedures for an accelerated and integrated approach to sustainment innovation and technology development, adoption, and application. Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG) principals—comprising experts from the Army, NAVAIR, NAVSEA, Air Force Materiel Command, USMC, ODASD (MR), and the Defense Logistics Agency—helped to shape and drive this effort. JTEG principals requested the development of a joint process to enable broadscale deployment of a number of new sustainment technology solutions over the next several months. The initiative seeks to establish processes to avoid the “Valley of Death,” a known risk where new technologies fail to reach widespread usage.
Other panel topics included Modernizing the Organic Industrial Base (OIB), CBM+/Predictive Maintenance, Advanced Manufacturing/Additive Manufacturing, Energy/Environmental Health and Safety, NavalX and the Tech Bridge Network, Sustainable Modernization of Weapons Systems, and Improved Business Operations.
As Len Mecca, Vice President and Co-Founder of CLogic Defense remarked, “Where else can you go and listen to 30-40 subject matter experts who are working on great projects that benefit our government partners?”
Debra Lilu, NCMS Vice President of Maintenance & Sustainment, and Business Development, led a tutorial that explained how the CTMA Program serves as a partnership between NCMS and the DOD. “The CTMA Program is the only DOD-wide innovation program focused solely on maintenance and sustainment,” she said. “CTMA provides agile processes and collaboration to rapidly innovate how the DOD sustains materiel readiness. The program facilitates collaborations between government, industry, and academia. With 24 years of experience, CTMA has completed over 700 successful projects and focuses on DOD-wide technology transition.”
Lilu commented on the extraordinary growth of the CTMA program over the past 24 years of working with the DOD. The CTMA program’s priorities include serving as the hub of sustainment innovation for the DOD, moving quickly with the goal of 60 days from a great idea to a contract, creating unity of effort in the DOD and industry, promoting a high-performing sustainment enterprise, leveraging industry resources through partnerships, and demonstrating continuous improvement and growth.
In addition to the panels, the Partners Meeting featured two receptions to facilitate maximum networking in the exhibition hall. These receptions featured tabletop demonstrations by 25 industry innovators for decision-makers to experience, setting up potential follow-up after the event. Exhibitors delivered dynamic displays and demonstrations of their latest technology solutions, including Boston Engineering—the Partners Meeting Platinum Sponsor—along with Anglicotech, BigBear.ai, BILT Incorporated, Blast-One International, Creaform, CS Unitec, DAES Group, Eclypse International, Engineering USA, Gecko Robotics, GovSmart, GVS RPB, IR Technologies, Maglogix, One Network Enterprises, Radiation Safety & Control Services, Sharp Vision Software, Siemens, SurClean, Terydon, TIP Technologies, Universal Synaptics, Western Technology, and ZOLLER. The Partner’s Meeting is expected to facilitate many exciting collaborations in the coming months and years. NCMS looks forward to more live events soon, including the NCMS Technology Showcase at Corpus Christi Army Depot on July 14–15. Save the date and join us at the face-to-face event available to both Army and Navy decision-makers.
For more information and details about the Partners Meeting, see https://www.ncms.org/ctma-partners-meeting/.