I’ve had a number of inquires about the UID Forum and have heard lots of rumors. One such rumor is that “DoD decided to kill the UID Forum” or the “DoD doesn’t care about UID anymore”. That simply is not the case! So I thought this was a great place to address the events that led to the postponement on the 2013 UID Forum and discuss my thoughts on the enduring need for such an event.
The decision to postpone the UID Forum was made by the owner, The Clarion Group, purely due to DoD travel approval uncertainties and the issues surrounding the budget/sequestration.
Historically attendees at the Forum are about two thirds DoD personnel and one third contractor personnel and most of the speakers are also DoD personnel. There were two DoD Memoranda (June 2012 and September 2012) released that detailed limitations on travel and conference participation. In January 2013, another Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum was issued directing all DoD Components to “Curtail travel, training, and conferences (all with exceptions for mission-critical activities* including those required to maintain professional licensure or equivalent certifications).” Based on these, The Clarion Group decided to postpone the Spring UID Forum in order to ensure a successful event for all participants.
As the former US DoD and NATO UID Lead, I have to confess up front that I am a passionate supporter of the value the Forum brings to the contractor and government attendees from acquisition, program management, engineering, logistics, and property management communities. I was the DoD lead for the UID Forums prior to my retirement last September and could not be more proud of its impact. It was the major educational event for us both in giving and getting advice and feedback on policy enhancements, implementation challenges and successes.
The UID Forum has been a major force in UID implementation for almost 10 years now and the foremost venue to share the passion for UID, experiences, opportunities and challenges of UID implementation with others who are trying to improve their business process through the traceability provided by embracing UID.
In talking with The Clarion Group recently, I understand that the plan is to continue the UID Forum perhaps in the Fall timeframe once the travel approval environment within the DoD shifts. I suspect the flavor of the event may have to transition from compliance to value and opportunity in order to attract a larger enduring contractor audience. I believe that there are a number of marquee issues that lend themselves to a UID approach that the event can lean on more heavily in the future. For example, anti-counterfeiting, lifecycle management, reducing maintenance/sustainment costs, property management, inventory control and the general topic of automatic identification technology enabled business processes come to mind.
It is crucial for contractors to “own” UID implementation and embrace its inherent value to their operations particularly where those operations include sustainment and support of their systems after the sale.
In my role with Camcode, I am encouraged that The Clarion Group is dedicated to you and the UID industry by producing this valuable event. If you would like to weigh in on the need or provide suggestions, the primary POC for The Clarion Group is Jane Yallum. She can be reached at [email protected] or feel free to contact me at [email protected].