NSA Crane briefs communities in second annual State of the Installation address, projects job growth and new opportunities for collaboration

[email protected] Technology Park, (Odon) Indiana — Naval Support Activity Crane delivered the second-ever State of the Installation address during the White River Military Coordination Alliance’s fourth-quarter meeting, projecting opportunities for job growth in the region and identifying new areas for collaboration through intergovernmental support agreements.

The annual State of the Installation address provides an opportunity for Crane to share its strategic goals and any operational changes or proposed construction projects that may impact the Alliance membership. This year, new commanding officer of NSA Crane, Commander James L. Smith, delivered the briefing.

“Over the next three years, Crane plans to continue to hire above our attrition, supporting growth across the installation and tenet missions,” CDR Smith said. “We also foresee new and expanded mission areas, further strengthening our strategic value within the state, region, and Department of Defense.”

Smith’s address included the following key updates:

  • Infrastructure and growth plans: Crane will receive a new tenant command in the next fiscal year, the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO) Systems Engineering Field Activity. The JHTO will bring approximately $200 million in infrastructure and program development to the installation, which will go toward the new Underwater Launch Test Complex, and additional labs and evaluation facilities.
  • Job trends: The installation plans to hire 300-500 personnel above the normal attrition rate throughout the next 3-5 years. The four primary areas for hiring are business, technical, emergency management and public works, and advanced manufacturing roles.
  • Lingering effects from COVID-19: Crane’s priority is to protect its workforce and critical missions. As part of that effort, Crane Army has transitioned some of its flexible production workforce to make hand sanitizer for the installation and throughout the DoD, and NSWC Crane has partnered with Greene County General Hospital to create and test fever detection software that has potential for use at hospitals throughout the region.
  • Forecasts for support funding: Crane will invest an estimated $300,000 in nearby counties from timber sale profits. Congress continues to increase funding for the Readiness and Environmental Projection Integration Program, which focuses on encroachment protection and helps Crane partner in agricultural, natural, and forest land conservation in the region.
  • Opportunities for collaboration: Crane identified new opportunities to explore intergovernmental support agreements with the communities that neighbor the installation and state agencies, which could include things like bulk material purchasing, service agreements, and mutual aid agreements for disaster recovery and emergency services.
  • Trending research areas: Crane highlighted four areas for potential growth in cutting-edge technology research: artificial intelligence, electromagnetic warfare, advanced hypersonics, and trusted microelectronics.
  • Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) recommendations: Implementation of JLUS recommendations will continue to create opportunities for economic development and growth within the region and state.
  • Indiana defense industry initiatives: Crane works with Indiana’s economic development arm to ensure a focus on development that will enhance Crane and the state’s ability to satisfy DoD’s critical warfighting needs.

Through the continued use of collaborative planning, partnerships, and compatible development and encroachment protection programs, economic growth can continue to take root in the larger regional and state ecosystem for defense development, while continuing to protect those critical mission areas for the installation and protecting our strategic value,” said CDR Smith.

During the fourth-quarter meeting, the Alliance was also briefed on Indiana defense industry initiatives, including:

  • Governor Eric Holcomb’s call for the state to triple federal defense investment by 2025. This funding would create opportunities for economic development and innovation organizations to solve technical problems and research new technologies.
  • Regional Opportunity Initiatives’ Indiana Uplands Regional Defense Industry Strategy, which was developed to diversify the DoD contract activity in the region surrounding Crane, create a better talent pipeline, and make a more sustainable DoD innovation ecosystem.
  • Indiana’s efforts to increase defense spending. General Clif Tooley, president of defense development at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, spoke about efforts to connect businesses with DoD contracts and funding, and reposition Indiana as a thought and action leader in advanced manufacturing in the United States.

“The Alliance and our surrounding communities play an essential role in growing the state’s defense economy by contributing to the wellbeing of Crane and development of a talented workforce,” said Gene McCracken, chair of the Alliance. “As Indiana makes a continued effort to increase defense spending, we also have a unique opportunity to grow our business and research and development capabilities through defense-related partnerships.”

For the next Alliance meeting in February 2021, the Alliance membership communities will prepare a State of the Community briefing to inform Crane leadership of planning efforts or initiatives that may impact the installation.

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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.