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News | Jan. 2, 2024

Many DLA firsts on display during the Annual Defense Manufacturing Conference

By DLA Information Operations

The Defense Logistics Agency shined bright during the 2023 Defense Manufacturing Conference hosted in Nashville, Tennessee. With a gathering of over 1,500 attendees and 135 exhibitors, this year’s theme was Manufacturing Innovation: Propelling the Joint Force.

Mr. David Koch, director of DLA Research and Development, led DLA’s participation by highlighting the agency’s role in supporting the joint force by invigorating the global supply network and equipping warfighters with advanced capabilities through the DLA Manufacturing Technology program.

Notably, Mr. Matt Hutchens, the program manager of DLA R&D’s Battery Network, won a Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award for his powerful lightweight military batteries. This recognition, among six others, celebrated innovations from various member organizations of the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel. Subsequently, Mr. Koch’s appointment as the JDMTP chair marked a significant DLA milestone, positioning him to lead the JDMTP for the next three years.

DLA’s Chief Information Officer, Mr. Adarryl Roberts, called for a revival of the small business industrial base, critical to both DLA and the Defense Department. Discussions centered around small business re-engagement, highlighting events like Industry Collider Day and growing academic partnerships to strengthen the future workforce.

Mr. James Johnson, DLA’s program executive officer, echoed the sentiment of nurturing partnerships and prioritizing workforce upskilling to meet evolving challenges. “We need to rapidly develop a workforce that is comfortable operating in digital environments that delivers real-time capabilities at the tactical edge,” he said. “DLA is targeting operational agility at velocity – this is the only way forward.”

Throughout the conference, DLA program managers engaged in spotlight sessions, technical panels, and poster sessions, showcasing logistics research and ManTech solutions. These efforts showcased DLA’s capabilities to government, academia, and industry partners.

To close, DLA hosted the Small Business Ignites Forum, which offered valuable insights into partnering with DLA R&D Small Business Innovation Program.

“DLA experienced many firsts at this year’s conference and it was an excellent opportunity to network with our valued partners and utilize diverse forums to display our unique contribution to the Defense industrial base,” Mr. Koch said.

DMC 2024 will convene Dec. 1-4, 2024, in Austin, Texas. For additional details, visit