Magazine article National Defense

NDIA Planning Shaped by Changes in Industry and the Internet

Magazine article National Defense

NDIA Planning Shaped by Changes in Industry and the Internet

Article excerpt

PRESIDENT'S PERSPECTIVE

As you read this, we will be well into a strategic planning effort ihere at NDIA. This effort is led by an ad-hoc committee of our board of directors, who are taking time from their busy schedules to provide us advice on the future.

One area we will focus on is the direction the association will take during the next three to five years. Now, that may hit some of you as an unduly short-term horizon, but considering the rapidity with which the defense community and our society change, it is truly long-range planning. Concurrently, we have kicked off a formal member survey (to which, if queried, I hope you'll respond) that will elicit your thoughts on our activities as well as our performance. We sincerely want to know what you want and need from the association. We are looking for input from both our individual as well as corporate members.

On the issue of NDIA's future, one thing we will be looking at closely will be the impact on the association of continuing changes in the defense industry. When we get down to basics, remember that our fundamental reason for being is to ensure a viable, responsive defense industrial base. As mentioned in this column last month, more than 20,000 companies have left the defense supplier community. Further, we've gone through one cycle of consolidations ending up with a handful of mega companies. If rumors prove correct, we're about to enter another cycle of consolidations at the second and lower tiers of producers. What does this mean to the association? Will it adversely affect our membership? Or the supply of our volunteer members-who are the heart and soul of our important committee and division structure? What about attendance at the conferences, which is one of our primary means of communicating and networking? How should we change our activities to reflect these impending changes in our industrial community?

Another big area for assessment is the continuing explosion of technology and its impact on the association. For instance, how will the continuing growth of the Internet affect NDIA? An interesting prediction by the founder of PSINet is that "... 80 percent of commerce from business to business and business to consumers in four years is totally dependent on the Internet, either in the pre-sales marketing cycle, the actual selling and transaction support, or the post-transaction customer interaction. …

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