Greetings from Munich. The conference here at the University of the Bundeswehr kicked off this week with a fitting representation of the challenges to global supply chain security from the perspectives of allied military and academic business. Michael Ritchie, Director, the USEUCOM Commander’s Interagency Engagement Group opened the conference with VADM Gallagher, Deputy Commander of EUCOM, Dr. Andreas Brieden, Dean of the School of Business, here at the Universität der Bundeswehr München, and Colonel Freitag, Head of the Military Department, at the Universität.
It seems as though IBM and CISCO are the only private sector companies participating in this symposium. Global supply chain security is a concern for military in terms of supply and logistics for their own operations, but also in terms of their obligation to possibly protect private sector supply chains as an attractive target by terrorists or other adversaries. The private sector already deals with numerous risks to our supply chains, which is one reason why IBM sought to be involved in this discussion. I’ll present on GMM this afternoon and my colleague Colm Leonard, Executive Program Manager, Import Compliance & Supply Chain Security, IBM, will present on a panel discussion to review solutions for greater supply chain visibility and security.
We heard yesterday from a number of experts. Most interesting was a presentation by the DHS attaché at the European Union. She is technically a CBP employee and gave a detailed run-down of C-TPAT, Secure Freight Initiative, Container Security Initiative, and other targeting measures to reduce risk in global supply chains in which the U.S. is a major link.
Her counterpart at the EU also presented and described a number of similar programs. Like C-TPAT, the EU grants special status to “Authorized Economic Operators.” Here in Europe, companies can provide greater transparency into their supply chains so that EU authorities can better identify risks to shared links in the global supply chain. The trust shared between the EU and these AEOs is similar to that which is extended between DHS and C-TPAT members.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could merge the membership? That is a goal, but the companies participating in C-TPAT or as AEOs remain concerned about the privacy protections for themselves if proprietary information about their supply chains – arguably major components in their competitive advantages – is shared with other governments that may favor domestic businesses.
Alas, we have a long way to go in this regard. But merely getting the stakeholders in the room is a valuable first step. I’ll post again later with an update on today’s exchange. The more interesting dimensions of this is a working group of which I’m a part. All symposium participants are broken into groups to dive deeper into such challenges as AEO/C-TPAT integration. In my group, I have the CISCO guy, another IBMer who deals with NATO, and military reps from Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and the U.S.