WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Industry engagement is on a growth curve for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, drawing more people and needing more space to build stronger alliances to improve warfighter readiness.
That growth curve was evident during AFLCMC’s 4th Annual Life Cycle Industry Days June 19-21 at the Dayton Convention Center.
LCID draws Air Force and Department of Defense acquisition leaders, major industry defense contractors and prospective suppliers together to discuss the Air Force’s hot topics in acquisitions and challenges of today and tomorrow.
The event grew so popular that it needed more elbow room.
“It’s little different venue than what we had last year,” said Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, AFLCMC commander. “The reason is we had too many attendees, and I like that. That’s a good problem to have. I appreciate the fact that we have such a well-attended event.”
LCID brought together more than 1,000 government and industry partners to build and strengthen alliances between government and industry. The event featured keynote presentations from top military acquisition leaders and weapon systems forecast briefings from Program Executive Officers, discussing the status of numerous programs, including future needs and current challenges.
“If you look around you at the folks who are sitting in this room – and you’ve got a problem somewhere in your portfolio -- the solution is in this room. There’s somebody here at LCID who knows how to solve that problem. The key is to make that connection to make it work,” the General said.
The three days of LCID featured keynote speeches with question-and-answer sessions, including the Honorable Robert McMahon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., the Commander of Air Force Materiel Command, and Gen. Mike Holmes, the Commander of Air Combat Command, as well as Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, the future military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.
Other heavily-attended events included panel discussions featuring Program Executive Officers, as well as a panel with defense industry executives. A host of concurrent sessions also competed for attendees’ time and attention, with forecast reviews by separate AFLCMC directorates, and discussions on rapid acquisitions, supply chain readiness and strategic capabilities.
Between sessions, the tempo only picked up for attendees, as the essential elements of business ruled the day. Attendees launched into side conversations tackling topics of existing technologies and future capabilities in depth, learning what potential needs and opportunities exist, then set to work establishing mutual interest to make contacts and lay the groundwork for future partnerships.
This too, was among the goals for LCID.
“It is more important than ever to focus our efforts on strengthening our alliances and partnerships. It is my hope that this gathering will provide a forum for both large and small business to discuss opportunities to partner with government agencies on near and long-term capabilities,” said McMurry.
About one-fourth of the tracks at LCID concentrated on small business. This included panels on opportunities, portfolios, past and future Pitch Days, and readily-available Air Force Intellectual Property that can be licensed for use. Extra attention was also given to explaining Education Partnership Agreements, Patent Licensing Agreements, Information Transfer Agreements and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, all of which are mechanisms enabling public-private partnerships between Air Force and industry or education to drive research and production activities. AFLCMC and AFRL Small Business Offices were on site in force throughout the event, available to discuss navigating the contracting process with small business attendees.
The marketing side of industry has also put LCID on their respective “to-do” lists, with 27 separate contractors manning booth space to increase their brand awareness and showcase their goods and services to government and industry attendees. Attracting attention is a key element when managing a booth at events like LCID, and industry vendors, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Institute of Technology and Air Force Research Laboratory all met that challenge. One of the most popular was a corporate booth which demonstrated the potential applications of virtual reality systems. The vendor was able to discuss practical applications ranging from virtual training to computer-assisted maintenance and combat operations. Vendors also distributed a host of small items adorned with company logos and even distributed information on future defense industry conventions.
The third day of the event went even deeper into specific specialties and weapons systems by dedicating the entire day to one-on-one sessions for attendees to meet with Program Executive Officers and their staffs.
Each of the LCID events demonstrated the government and the defense sector have recognized the value of LCID, and that it serves as an opportunity for increased partnerships between government and industry, as well as for smaller vendors to market their goods and services to larger defense contractors. AFLCMC is looking forward to continued growth in LCID 2020 and is planning to offer even more compelling partnership and collaboration opportunities.