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Conference-Goers Gain Perspective of Capitol Hill and GAO

Navy-Led Technical Program Attracts Record Numbers

In furthering the Defense Department’s goal of battling corrosion through enhanced maintenance, procurement, and operational practices, experts convened at the 2009 DoD Corrosion Conference during the week of August 10-14. Noted speakers included newly appointed Corrosion Executives from the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as an Ohio Congresswoman, a senior professional staffer from the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, and a senior analyst from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Daniel J. Dunmire, Director of the DoD Corrosion Office, escorted U.S. Representative Betty Sutton on a tour of Midwest-based company representatives and booths at the DoD Corrosion Conference. Photo by Jack Hartzman.

“DoD corrosion experts from the Services and industry benefited from the viewpoints of Congressional and GAO experts who influence military policy and practice through the legislative process,” said Daniel J. Dunmire, Director of the DoD Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight and DoD Corrosion Conference chair. “This year’s technical program, led by Navy corrosion experts Airan Perez, William Needham, and Rich Hays, provided a rich opportunity for exchange between scientists and engineers dedicated to reducing corrosion’s negative impact on military costs, safety, and readiness.”

More than 600 attendees benefited from briefings on DoD policies, instructions, and law regarding how corrosion impacts policy and life cycle and procurement costs. The technical program, which featured more than 118 technical papers in 14 technology areas, offered an array of panels on inorganic coatings, paints and coatings, metallic and metal-rich coatings, and coating removal and surface treatment, among others. “The 2009 DoD Corrosion Conference was an unqualified success,” said Dunmire.

Betty Sutton, the U.S. Representative from Ohio’s 13th Congressional District, spoke at the Wednesday night banquet about why she and other members of Congress are committed to combating corrosion. Sutton, who represents northeast Ohio, offered a detailed appraisal of DoD’s fulfillment of a federal mandate to create and implement a corrosion prevention and mitigation program. She invoked her experience supporting national infrastructure preservation projects, the University of Akron’s pioneering four-year degree program in corrosion engineering, and the DoD Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight strategic plan. Sutton challenged the DoD to study the impact of corrosion on troop readiness and safety.

Military Corrosion Executives Wimpy D. Pybus (Army) (left), Dail Thomas (middle) and Col. Gary C. Blaszkiewicz (right) provided an overview of Defense Acquisition Strategy. Photos by Jack Hartzman.

Monday’s luncheon featured a legislative branch corrosion policy overview, including presentations by Dunmire, Vickie F. Plunkett, Senior Professional Staffer from the House Armed Services Committee, and Allen Westheimer, Senior Analyst from GAO.

At Tuesday’s luncheon panel moderated by Dunmire, the recently appointed Corrosion Control and Prevention Executives reviewed the challenges, successes, and future goals of their military departments. The corrosion executives included Wimpy D. Pybus (Army), Dail Thomas (Navy), and Col. Gary C. Blaszkiewicz (Air Force). Thursday’s keynote luncheon offered an acquisition strategy overview, also moderated by Dunmire, featuring Jeffrey Tucker, a Program Analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, and Michael Carpenter, a Senior Analyst for the DoD Corrosion Office.

The U.S. Navy organized the technical program, led by Perez, the conference technical chair who serves as Corrosion Program Officer at the Office of Naval Research. NACE International served as the conference presenter and facilities organizer. Technical sessions addressed corrosion-resistant materials, coatings, modeling, facilities corrosion management, accelerated testing, and the impact of corrosion prevention and control, among other topics. Some sessions also explored maintenance challenges on equipment unique to the Marine Corps and Army, for example.

Allen Westheimer, Senior GAO Analyst, offered a historical review of the Government Accountability Office's evolving role in the DoD corrosion prevention program. Photo by Jack Hartzman.

During the tri-annual DoD Corrosion Forum, which conducted business on Monday and Friday, members of the Corrosion Prevention Integrated Product Team and guests heard briefings about DoD projects jointly funded by the DoD Corrosion Offices and the military departments; 2009 and 2010 National Defense Authorization Act requirements; updates to the ongoing cost of corrosion study; the progress of corrosion-related efforts by the National Academy of Sciences; the progress of a university consortium/DoD initiative; a collaboration between DoD and NACE International on developing training to reduce the cost of corrosion within the DoD’s acquisition and infrastructure community; the approval of a new bachelor’s program in corrosion engineering; and results of a recent training survey involving students from the acquisition workforce.

Throughout the conference week, CPC IPT committees—known as WIPTs (Working Integrated Product Teams)—met to discuss ongoing activities related to Specifications and Standards; Policy; Metrics, Impact, and Sustainment; Training; Facilities; and Outreach and Communications.

Besides drawing a record number of attendees compared to past DoD Corrosion Conferences, the five-day conference attracted more than 50 exhibitors to the Gaylord National Hotel in the Maryland National Harbor south of the Wilson Bridge, in the greater Washington, D.C. area. While 170 of the attendees were from the greater D.C. area, corrosion professionals traveled from 42 different states and many different countries to participate.

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