Rear Admiral Arthur Johnson's Participation at MIC Annual Meeting Underscores the Navy's Commitment to Work with Industry to Keep Service Men and Women Riding Safely

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At its Annual Meeting held Feb. 13 in Indianapolis, Ind., the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) welcomed the participation of Rear Admiral Arthur J. Johnson, Commander of the Naval Safety Center.

Admiral Johnson met with the MIC Board of Directors, delivered the annual meeting’s keynote address, and accepted the MIC Chairman’s Award on behalf of Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter. Admiral Johnson graduated with a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University ’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where his studies focused on U.S. Business and Government Relationships and Third World Politics. He is also a member of the Millennium Class at the National War College in Washington , D.C. and was awarded a master’s degree in national strategic studies in June 2000. He assumed his duties as Commander of the Naval Safety Center in August 2007.

Admiral Johnson was one of the first senior executive military officers to provide significant support for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s (MSF) work in training military motorcycle riders. In 2007, he received an MSF Award for Outstanding Support of Motorcycle Safety.

“We were extremely honored to host Rear Admiral Johnson at the MIC Annual Meeting,” said MIC President Tim Buche. “His attendance and involvement at the meeting underscores the critical need for the military and the industry to work together to promote riding safety among U.S. service men and women, particularly those returning from active tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“He has been instrumental in supporting the development of the Military SportBike RiderCourse and he has opened the door for strong relationships and collaboration with the motorcycle safety community,” Buche continued.

In a private breakfast meeting with MIC board members, Admiral Johnson elaborated on activities underway with the MSF to promote safer riding among military personnel. The Department of Defense (DoD) mandates rider training and specifies an MSF course for all military personnel who ride, and the U.S. Navy now requires that all personnel who own sport bikes take the MSF Military Motorcycle RiderCourse after they have completed the MSF Basic RiderCourse.

The MSF Military Motorcycle RiderCourse was developed in close collaboration with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Safety Center and is now available to all branches of the Department of Defense. The "Sport Bike Survival Guide," a student pocket takeaway booklet written by accomplished sport bike riding instructor Nick Ienatsch with a foreword by Superbike Champion Ben Spies, is provided to all military personnel who participate in the course.

In his keynote presentation, Admiral Johnson recapped a meeting held in January 2009 between the secretaries of the Navy, Army, and Air Force, representatives of the four major motorcycle manufacturers, and the MIC. At that meeting, the discussions focused on exploring opportunities to jointly and collaboratively reduce the risk for DoD service members who ride, and to establish follow-on efforts to enhance training, change attitudes and behavior, and maximize the riding experience.

He presented sobering statistics related to DoD fatalities involving motorcycles: of 295 fatalities (FY 2006-08) involving motorcycles, sportbikes accounted for 75%. Within that group, 95% were males, age 21-33. Up to 51% had no training, and more than 25% had no license. Admiral Johnson observed that DoD high risk takers are attracted to high performance sportbikes, that there is an obvious correlation to fatalities and lack of training, lack of licensing, and inexperience, and that more of our sailors and marines are being killed on the highway than in combat.

In addition to its collaboration with the MSF to develop the Military Sportbike RiderCourse, the DoD is involved in motorcycle safety promotion through multiple channels, including leadership training, standardized training across services, technology investments, policy refinements, industry partnerships, mentorship programs, and family engagement. Admiral Johnson strongly emphasized the willingness of the DoD to work with the industry on marketing to its service members, calling for more risk-focused marketing, with messaging that encourages the rider to match his or her experience to the bike, get trained before purchasing, and not to glamorize the speed/racing thrill. Admiral Johnson reaffirmed the DoD goal of collectively reducing risk, noting that discussions to explore industry initiatives will be ongoing and that the Industry and DoD Safety Chiefs will continue to collaborate at DoD safety forums.

Chairman’s Award presented on behalf of honoree Secretary of Navy Donald C. Winter
Admiral Johnson also participated in the MIC Chairman’s Award ceremony, accepting the award on behalf of Dr. Donald C. Winter, Secretary of the Navy. The Chairman’s Award series honors groups and individuals who have made special contributions of time and effort to the powersports industry.

“We’re pleased to recognize Secretary Winter for his outstanding leadership among all the branches in promoting motorcycle safety, not only here in the United States, but throughout the world,” said Larry Little, MIC chairman and Cycle World vice president and publisher. “We’re privileged and appreciative that Admiral Johnson could be here to accept the Chairman’s Award on Secretary Winter’s behalf, and we applaud Admiral Johnson as well for continuing to support the cause of motorcycle safety and education.”

MIC Chairman’s Award recipient Donald C. Winter is the 74th Secretary of the Navy, responsible for all the affairs of the Department of the Navy, which consists of two uniformed Services, the U.S Navy and Marine Corps, an annual budget in excess of $125 billion, and approximately 900,000 people. His office is also responsible for the formulation and implementation of naval policies and programs that are consistent with the national security policies and objectives established by the President and the Secretary of Defense. Previously, Winter served as a corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector, and as president and CEO of TRW Systems.

Dr. Winter earned a bachelor’s degree with highest distinction in physics from the University of Rochester in 1969 and a doctorate in physics from the University of Michigan in 1972. He is a 1979 graduate of the USC Management Policy Institute, a 1987 graduate of the UCLA Executive Program, and a 1991 graduate of the Harvard University Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security. In 2002, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering.