By Jacqueline Jastrzebski, Logistics Officer Association Public Affairs

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland – Gen. Darren McDew, U.S. Transportation Command commander, offered his perspective on leadership and ways to inspire innovative thinking within the unit at the Logistics Officer Association Symposium here Nov. 15, 2017.

The general said some risk comes with innovation and that risk is often placed on the shoulders of leadership. As the Air Force continues to increase manpower and develop new technologies, McDew said he wants his staff to present him ground-breaking solutions and, in return, he’ll assume the risk.

“Once your people believe that you will help and protect them, big things will happen.”

Nearly half of the military personnel in attendance at the LOA Symposium were young, company grade Air Force officers. McDew recognized the influence that the ever-changing global environment will have on young leaders.

“You have to own your job description,” McDew said. “If someone gives you a job, don’t ask permission to do that job. Communicate well, but be bold in the space that you’ve been given.”

The Air Force will aim to increase its number of active duty personnel to about 325,000 Airmen in the coming years. Where there are Airmen, he said, there are opportunities to lead.

As he reflected on a time when a number of his colleagues advised him to “relax and sit back” to secure a promotion, McDew said it’s always better to be bold.

“This is the real empowering part,” he said. “You must realize that most naysayers don’t have the courage to stop you from achieving your goals.”

In addition to sharing advice for successful leaders, McDew emphasized the importance of organizations like LOA that strengthen relationships between the Department of Defense and industry partners.

“We can’t operate without industry,” he said. “With so many technological advancements, we now must bring ourselves together with industry partners, leverage their power and influence, and work to tackle the challenges ahead.”

LOA is celebrating 35 years of providing a forum for DoD and industry partners to build mutually beneficial relationships while learning more about the logistics, maintenance and acquisitions career fields.