MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Hundreds of Marine Corps and industry representatives congregated aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, to interact, exchange ideas and concepts, and learn from one another.
Held Sept. 17–19, the 2019 Modern Day Marine Military Exposition welcomed everyone from Marines and government personnel to congressional staff and innovators. The military equipment exposition enabled industry to showcase their inventions and explore the realm of possibilities with the Corps.
Lt. Gen. Eric Smith—commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration, and MDMME keynote speaker—emphasized the importance of Marine-industry interactions.
“I’m interested in an open, honest dialogue with industry,” Smith said. “I ask you to please be honest. You’re not going to hurt this relationship. We need your feedback and expertise.”
MDMME allows the Corps to educate industry on how to do business with Marine Corps Systems Command, Program Executive Officer Land Systems and other organizations. During this year’s installment, industry gained more knowledge about future military objectives and how they can assist in meeting these goals.
The exposition helps to better align with the warfighter’s needs. As Smith noted, the Corps can begin satisfying these needs by adhering to the Commandant’s Planning Guidance—a 23-page document outlining Gen. David Berger’s strategic direction for the Corps.
“The commandant says we need to get smaller, lighter, less exquisite and more numerous,” said Smith. “We have not gotten lighter in a long time. I don’t want to slow the rate of growth for weight; I want to actually get lighter.”
Lightening the warfighter’s load remains a major goal for the Corps. MDMME comprised myriad vendors who demonstrated to Marines lightweight and modern innovations, including cutting-edge boots, helmets and vests. Many businesses promoted technologies that can increase Marines’ efficiency and effectiveness on the battlefield.
“As the father of a Marine, I’m interested in being efficient where I can, but I’m more interested in being effective,” said Smith.
In addition to Smith’s keynote address, several speeches to industry occurred during the three-day event. The Capabilities Development Directorate held a discussion about the importance of leveraging modern, interoperable technologies, and the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity held a symposium about the evolving operational environment.
MCSC also hosted a conversation about the mission and vision of its Office of Small Business Programs. The command views small business relationships as a critical component to the long-term success and affordability of the Department of Navy. In the last six years, MCSC’s OSBP has met or exceeded many of its federal small business targets.
Kyle Beagle, director of MCSC’s OSBP, talked to industry about small business innovations, contracts and accelerated acquisition methods. He also offered advice to small businesses looking to partner with MCSC.
“Please do your research and understand your customer,” said Beagle. “Don’t just tell me what you’re selling—provide a solution.”
On the final day, William Bush, MCSC’s lead Information Systems Security Manager, tackled a topic that has become increasingly relevant in recent years: Cybersecurity.
Bush outlined the role of MCSC’s cybersecurity branch and areas where industry can help, such as with integrating independent validation and verification with developmental testing. Because cybersecurity is ever-evolving, the command is always searching for ways to adapt to these changes.
“What MARCORSYSCOM is looking for is new, innovative ideas,” said Bush. “We welcome ideas for making our processes more efficient to move in a positive direction.”
The Corps values industry collaboration. Communication with industry at MDMME can lead to a clearer understanding of cost-to-capability tradeoffs early in the requirements development process and increase the chances capabilities are delivered on time and on budget, said Smith.
He said collaboration events like MDMME can lead to ideas that ultimately benefit the warfighter.
“There’s a saying that goes, ‘Nobody likes to fight, but somebody has to know how,’” said Smith. “That’s not true. Marines like to fight. We just need help from our industry partners to figure out the best way to do it at the least cost possible.”