2024 CTMA Partners Meeting Unites Top Industry, Academia, and Government Leaders with a Focus on Bringing Rapid Sustainment Solutions to the Warfighter

Over one hundred leaders from government, industry, and academia gathered for the 2024 CTMA Partners Meeting, held this year in Providence, RI, from May 7 to 9. Focused on bringing rapid sustainment solutions to the warfighter, the Partners Meeting provided a forum of engaging speakers, informative panels, emerging technologies, and an innovation workshop that developed on-the-fly solutions to maintenance and sustainment needs. 

 This year’s Partners Meeting kicked off with the highly anticipated hands-on session, back for the second year in a row: the Rapid Innovation Workshop, a technology development and integration exercise. Each participant chose one of four scenarios: aircraft battle damage and repair, local parts manufacturing, advanced decision support using data streams, or predictive maintenance for electrical components. The teams had 45 minutes to develop a solution for their chosen scenario and prepare a short presentation. After viewing each presentation, participants were asked to vote on the best idea for a solution, other than their own team’s. Congratulations to the winning group: a team of 23 led by NCMS Business Development Manager Marc Sharp, which presented a solution for Scenario 1: Expeditionary Aircraft Battle Damage Assessment and Repair. NCMS has awarded $25,000 to this team to develop a proposal for a CTMA collaboration based on their solution. 

On the second day, Col. Howard Marotto, a Reserve Marine Colonel and Additive Manufacturing Business Director for EWI, delivered a compelling address, “The Future Fight.” Col. Marotto touched on the limiting factors our military currently faces, such as the logistics of fighting across the Pacific, and access to fuel and ammunition. He spoke about the risk of the DOD losing ground in our war efforts due to the lack of agility in the innovation space and with emerging technologies. When speaking on the opportunity to address this problem, Col. Marotto referenced the Marine Corps’ NEXLOG project, an initiative that accelerated the Marine Corps’ adoption of emerging technologies into logistics capabilities. Among his takeaways: “The fight begins and ends on the Hill… with a capital H. We need leaders in both industry and government whose primary desire is to protect their country and make key decisions that are what’s best for their nation.”  

Multiple panel presentations took place throughout the three days, including a discussion on Organic Industrial Base (OIB) modernization with participants from the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Later, attendees were able to witness an engaging panel on Cold Spray applications that included representatives from Solvus Global, Powders on Demand, VRC Metal Systems, and ODASD(MR). Attendees learned about the technology, the need for implementation, and some of the hurdles that are being faced along the way. 

In addition to the panels, the Partners Meeting featured two evening receptions to facilitate networking and feature tabletop demonstrations by 20 industry innovators. Exhibitors delivered compelling information on their technology, while demonstrating how their technology can provide solutions for problems the DOD is currently facing. Exhibitors in attendance included Ametek Spectro Scientific, Andromeda Systems Incorporated, BlastOne International, Boston Engineering, Brighton Science, Cumulus Digital Systems, DIT-MCO, Edlore Inc., Element 119 LLC, GVS-RPB, Industrial Coating Services, Laser Photonics, Naval Systems Incorporated (NSI), One Network Enterprises, Siemens Government Technologies, Skydio, Solvus Global, ToughGuard SPC, LLC, Universal Synaptics, and ZOLLER Inc. 

Presentations were given by the three finalists of the 2024 CTMA Technology Competition, after which the judges selected the Overall Award winner and attendees voted on the People’s Choice Award winner. Congratulations to Boston Engineering, which earned the Overall Award for “Family of Sustainment Assisting Robotics (FOSAR).” The FOSAR program will provide digitally enabled robotic platforms, enabled by a common user-interface, which will be distributed throughout the DOD and will improve fabrication, safety, and sustainment. The US Air Force won the People’s Choice Award for their “Surface Cleanliness Analyzer.” This innovative technology can greatly improve the efficiency of paint, coatings, adhesives, and sealants. For more information about the competition, including a booklet featuring all 100 entrants, see https://www.ncms.org/ctma-competition/. 

Sponsors for this year’s Partners Meeting included Boston Engineering, Laser Photonics, Solvus Global, and Naval Systems Incorporated (NSI). NCMS and the CTMA Program are expected to facilitate several more events this year including Technology Showcases taking place at Marine Depot Maintenance Command in Albany, GA, Fleet Readiness Center East in New Bern, NC, and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA. To view a complete list of upcoming events, see https://www.ncms.org/events/. 

For more information and details about the Partners Meeting, see https://www.ncms.org/ctma-partners-meeting/.