CDCA President’s Letter July 2013

It was over eleven years ago when the CDCA’s founding members gathered in a conference room to discuss the needs of the defense community within the greater Charleston area. At the time Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) was the primary focus, but other issues such as graduate and undergraduate education, small business support, efficient contracting, government forums, strategic alliances with other regions, infrastructure and facility planning, and special legislation were also on the agenda.

I remember the energy with which the founders moved forward to form the organization. I remember all the learning curves of incorporation, writing the charter, creating logo’s, opening a checking account, but most importantly, determining the strategy for how best to support Team Charleston before the upcoming BRAC decisions were made. The CDCA’s early motto became “Just Do It”, and they did.

With the 2005 BRAC decisions behind us and Team Charleston still in place the CDCA became focused on additional endeavors directly related to our mission, especially with regard to support of small business, numerous education initiatives, supporting veterans, establishing Contractor/Government forums, support to local related programs and events, and our annual C5ISR conference.

I am very proud of every one of these efforts and I am confident that the CDCA will continue to strongly support them, but it is evident that debt reduction will remain a national security issue and failure to obtain it quickly will drastically restrain America’s military. While defense spending is not the cause of our nation’s explosive debt, it is clear that reducing the federal government’s deficit requires that cuts will most likely be made in all federal spending categories, including defense. With this in mind the CDCA BoD over the last two years has refocused its priorities to more closely align with our roots. As such, our budget for our political relations efforts has significantly increased and I expect that it will continue to do so. We are actively continuing to search for ways to support SPAWAR and also bring additional opportunities to Charleston. DoD is an extremely important cluster to our region and state and we are aggressively finding and looking for new ways to let our government leaders know just how important Charleston’s DoD component is to our national security, the local economy, and Team Charleston. We do not pretend to know the correct action or answer for every situation, but we are continually looking for ways to advance and protect our region, and we are committed to making our member’s resources count.
In regards to national security, I believe the DoD cluster of Team Charleston is uniquely qualified and positioned for continued success. We have a long list of great, innovative, and responsive cutting edge accomplishments with proven added-value and excellent past performances. During national emergencies and times of great stress we have created and delivered agile, flexible, ready, and technologically advanced systems quickly and directly to where they were needed most. Our ability to provide and support mobile systems to support emergencies and/or act as a warfighter force multiplier is unparalleled!

I also believe that the local DoD component of Team Charleston cannot stand alone. As such the CDCA is working hard with local leaders across the board in the understanding that we must leverage all of our assets and best capabilities to keep Charleston strong. The CDCA is committed to Team Charleston and continuing in our positive efforts to include, share, and leverage across local DoD, governments, and all the Lowcountry agencies, groups, and the organizations that support them. Charleston and the Lowcountry can remain strong and become stronger if we work together. I firmly believe in these trying times our innovative and responsiveness will be even more appreciated and Team Charleston will remain in the forefront by providing added value to our national security efforts. Our national security and country will be better for it.

As I mentioned, we are committed to continually looking for ways to make our member’s resources count. Today the CDCA has over 350 members and an operating budget of over $500K. With this growth comes great responsibility. In recognition of this responsibility the BoD has recently created a formal “Ways and Means” committee to take a hard look at all of our association policies, processes, guides, rules, and regulations, with the goal of enhancing operational effectiveness. Our “Think Tank” committee began this much needed process last year and now with the creation of the “Ways and Means” committee they will again be able to focus on external innovative ways to enhance the mission of our organization.

One final thought, with the addition of three new BoD members I am reminded that the success of our organization is a function of the motivated and energetic people that routinely volunteer their time and make things happen. Over the years the CDCA BoD has seen an average yearly influx of new directors of 25% per year. Over the years I believe it is the diversity of these new directors, combined with the experience of longer-term BoD members, which are responsible for the innovative successes of our organization. In years past finding new directors who had the time and energy to make things happen has not always been easy. In the last few years we have been very fortunate to have many leaders in our community standup to serve as a Director. If you study the list of extremely strong candidates nominated during the last BoD election it becomes clear that (combined with the firm foundation of our established practices) the future of the CDCA will remain in good hands. I strongly encourage all past candidates and other motivated and energetic members to remain involved. Please contact me or any of the Committee Chairs if you are interested in volunteering time to help make things happen!

Very respectfully,
Mark Gadomski, CDCA President