ODON — Naval Support Activity Crane delivered the annual State of the Installation address during the White River Military Coordination Alliance’s fourth-quarter meeting, sharing its vision to leverage Indiana Department of Defense assets, enhance community partnerships, and continue to grow and modernize its Center of Excellence in munitions and testing.
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. NSA Crane Commanding Officer CDR James L. Smith delivered his second-ever briefing to the group of local community leaders and regional stakeholders.
“Team Crane has an unprecedented opportunity to further foster and grow as a Center of Excellence for testing and munitions,” said CDR Smith. “We recently participated in the reestablishment of the Indiana Commanders Roundtable that includes the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), President of Defense Development, and the Secretary of Commerce with the aim to work collaboratively and comprehensively to leverage DoD assets in Indiana.”
CDR Smith’s address included the following key updates and opportunities for community collaboration:
- Infrastructure and growth plans: Crane plans to restart construction of the Underwater Launch Test Complex in 2022, which represents a $100 million investment in infrastructure and programs with the addition of its new tenant, the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO) Systems Engineering Field Activity.
- Job trends: NSWC Crane seeks to hire college graduates in technical fields. CAAA continues to fill roles in logistics, analytics, robotics, and trades such as machinists as they work to develop and implement modernization plans.
- Trending research areas: Crane highlighted areas for potential growth in cutting-edge technology research: advanced hypersonics and trusted microelectronics.
- Opportunities for collaboration: Crane identified opportunities to continue to explore community partnerships, intergovernmental service agreements (IGSAs), and educational opportunities that will build a strong talent pipeline to fill jobs.
- 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 will work 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.
“Our community partnerships are what allows us to preserve the strategic value of Crane,” said CDR Smith. “We want to continue to work with the community to continue to develop, grow, and ultimately promote economic prosperity in the region.”
During the fourth-quarter meeting, the Alliance was also briefed on initiatives, including:
- Priorities for the next implementation phase of JLUS recommendations
- Prospective grant applications including the Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative (READI) Grant and Build Back Better Grant Initiative
- 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
“We are grateful for the partnership we share with Crane and its leadership, as this address allows us to better understand how our communities can support the installation,” said Brianne Jerrels, President of the White River Military Coordination Alliance. “We are also thrilled for the many ongoing initiatives and development opportunities throughout the region, and look forward to seeing them come to fruition.”
For the next Alliance meeting in February 2022, the Alliance membership communities will prepare a State of the Community briefing to inform Crane leadership of planning efforts, future projects, and initiatives that may impact the installation.