WESTGATE@CRANE Technology Park, (Odon) Indiana — Naval Support Activity Crane delivered the fourth annual State of the Installation address during the White River Military Coordination Alliance’s quarterly meeting, briefing the group on successes over the past year, ongoing initiatives and workforce needs, and upcoming projects including a future base master plan.
The annual State of the Installation address provides an opportunity for Team Crane to share its strategic goals and any operational changes or proposed construction projects that may impact the Alliance membership. Commander James L. Smith delivered his third and final address, as his three-year term as NSA Commander ends in summer 2023.
“Naval Support Activity Crane is eager to build upon and expand our community partnerships under a Future Base Design initiative designed to bring increased optimization, mission support efficiencies, and stronger ties to the community and services available outside the fence,” said Smith. “Intergovernmental Support Agreements, Educational Partnerships with academia, and collaborative initiatives will aim to provide new and innovated ways to support NSA Crane while mutually benefiting the local community and the region.”
Since the last State of the Installation in November 2021, Team Crane has successfully completed projects and implemented programs such as:
- Completing facility and infrastructure projects which include the Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) plating shop, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane (NSWC) Submarine Battery Evaluation Center, a new dining facility, and more than 65 additional public works projects;
- Renewing the Education Partnership with Indiana University and expanding the collaboration with others;
- Receiving a Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscapes designation, only one of ten across the country;
- Executing Silent Swarm, a two-week technology experimentation event bringing in more than 150 Electromagnetic Warfare subject matter experts from industry, academia, and civilian and military personnel;
- And continuing to provide munitions and support to our nation’s warfighters around the globe.
CDR Smith’s address included the following key updates about the installation, highlighting its priorities, upcoming plans and opportunities for community collaboration:
- Future mission growth and planning: NSA Crane will update its Installation Development Plan (Master Plan) in 2023, complete Horizontal Gap Analysis Studies for infrastructure capacity and performance, and initiate resiliency studies to analyze the base along with the surrounding area. CAAA and NSWC Crane also are participating in strategic planning processes for modernization, mission growth, and future base design, respectively.
- Improvements and infrastructure: More than $150 million in construction projects and infrastructure improvements are currently underway on the installation including the CAAA rail holding yard and NSWC’s strategic radiation testing modernization facility. Construction is ongoing for the Underwater Launch Test Complex, which represents a $300 million investment in infrastructure that is scheduled to be completed in 2026.
- Recruitment and job trends: Through increased involvement at career fairs both virtually and in-person, social media postings, direct hiring authorities and engagement with direct commands, installation employment is expected to grow 3 to 5% over the next five years. NSWC Crane has hired over 1,300 individuals over the last three years, which represents the largest number seen since the 1980s.
- Opportunities for educational collaboration: Team Crane identified opportunities to continue to explore educational partnerships with state institutions that will build a strong talent pipeline to fill jobs. Currently there are multiple connections with universities and skilled trades such as the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Purdue University, conservation and environmental study efforts with Indiana University, Vincennes University business and industrial training program, and growing partnerships with Ivy Tech Community College.
In addition to Commander Smith’s presentation, the Alliance was also briefed on initiatives and discussed 2023 plans, including:
- Activities of the Crane Regional Defense Group, a citizen-led grassroots subcommittee of the Alliance aimed to preserve the strategic value of Crane and bring economic growth to Southern Indiana by supporting local outreach and legislative initiatives;
- Updates on the Crane/Grissom Military Compatibility Legislation from consultant White & Smith;
- Identifying key committees for Alliance members to serve on and lead as a result of a member survey to increase engagement and continue to improve programming and communication with the communities;
- 2023 implementation action items and goals for the next year.
“We are grateful for our partnership with Team Crane and its leadership as this address allows us to better understand how our communities can support the installation,” said Cary Albright, Vice President of the White River Military Coordination Alliance. “We are looking forward to the completion of many ongoing initiatives and development opportunities, hope to continue to grow our relationship with the base as we move forward.
At the February 2023 Alliance meeting, members will assist their communities to prepare a State of the Community briefing to inform Crane leadership of planning efforts, future projects, and initiatives that may impact the installation.
About the White River Military Coordination Alliance
The Alliance is a community organization that was formed in 2018 to promote positive development and growth in the communities that surround Naval Support Activity Crane and Lake Glendora Test Facility (Daviess, Greene, Lawrence, Martin and Sullivan counties) by facilitating two-way communication between the communities, counties, state agencies, and NSA Crane. The focus of our 24-member alliance is to create opportunities for economic prosperity and land conservation in the region, safeguard Crane’s military mission, and protect community health and safety. We would encourage the community to take our survey about Crane at WRMCAlliance.com. Follow the Alliance on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.