ARLINGTON, Va. – The Logistics Officer Association is proud to present Steve Morani, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment (Logistics) and Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, with the organization’s 2021 Lt. Gen. Michael E. Zettler Lifetime Achievement Award.
As LOA’s most prestigious annual award, the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to members who have demonstrated superior leadership in service to the organization throughout at least 20 years of service and at least 10 years of LOA membership.
“I am tremendously humbled to be recognized by the logistics community that I’ve been a part of for most of my life, and really my entire adult life,” said Morani. “Just the thought that someone had nominated me was such an honor in itself.”
In his current role, Morani advises the Secretary of Defense on all logistics matters to ensure required materiel readiness support for the joint force. Prior to joining the federal civilian service in 2011, Morani served 28 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired at the rank of colonel.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of things in the military, and when I try to describe my journey, I say that I started out on the shop floor and now I get to be part of discussions in the boardroom.”
Morani’s storied career from shop floor to the boardroom began in 1983 when he enlisted as a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician. Four years later, he earned a commission through Officer Training School and went on to serve in a multitude of munitions, aircraft maintenance, and logistics positions.
“Along the way there’ve been many things that I’ve enjoyed,” he said. “I loved being a captain, because at that rank you’re leading Airmen, your technical competency is at its height point, and you’re delivering readiness right at the tip of the spear of the mission.”
Though he reflects fondly on memories of aircraft maintenance and sortie generation, Morani’s legacy also includes becoming the first Commandant of the Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Officer School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
“I got the opportunity to stand up AMMOS, and that’s really the gift that keeps on giving,” he said. “If I can help educate the next generation, then that pays dividends for years to come.”
Morani recalls attending his first LOA Symposium around the year 2000, but says he became involved with chapter-level activities as a lieutenant in the late ‘80s and ‘90s.
He notes the greatest value of LOA, and the Symposium in particular, is that officers of all ranks get the opportunity to connect with senior leaders and make sense of how they fit into Department of Defense-level strategy.
Naturally, the world of logistics looks a lot different than when Morani was a lieutenant. Now that he guides the enterprise from 30,000 feet, he recognizes the need for young officers to see the big picture, too.
“We need to be familiar with all the functions of logistics,” he said. “You may be in transportation, but you need to understand the other supply chain processes, because all of these functions together are what deliver capabilities to the warfighter.”
Morani also believes blooming where you are planted and following the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” are mantras to live by for all successful leaders.
“Mr. Morani is a humble logistician whose achievements inspire loggies throughout the DoD,” said Jason Kalin, LOA President. “I couldn’t be more excited for him to receive this award.”
Morani will formally accept the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2022 LOA Symposium in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 15-18, alongside newly retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Donald E. ‘Gene’ Kirkland, and former WWII ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Mae Krier.