Category: Blog

NSA Crane Leadership Shares Plans for Mission Growth and Community Partnerships

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane leadership delivered the third annual “State of the Installation” address about its plans for mission growth and enhancing community partnerships during the White River Military Coordination Alliance’s (WRMCA) fourth-quarter meeting. 

Leaders from NSA Crane have delivered this address to WRMCA since its inauguration in 2018. WRMCA, which includes state and local government officials, regional and local economic development officials, and Crane representatives, was formed to strengthen the relationship between NSA Crane and the surrounding communities. 

The “State of the Installation” address provides an opportunity for Crane to share strategic goals, operational changes, and proposed construction projects that may impact the Alliance membership. 

This year’s address was given by NSA Crane Commanding Officer CDR James L. Smith, who took command in 2020. 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. This represents a $100 million investment in infrastructure and programs with the addition of its new tenant, the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office Systems Engineering Field Activity. 
  • Job trends: NSWC Crane seeks to hire college graduates in technical fields. Crane Army Ammunition Activity continues to fill roles in logistics, analytics, robotics, and trades such as machinists as it works to develop and implement modernization plans.
  • Trending research areas: Smith highlighted areas for potential growth in cutting-edge technology research, including advanced hypersonics and trusted microelectronics.
  • Opportunities for collaboration: Smith identified opportunities to continue to explore community partnerships, intergovernmental service agreements, 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 while protecting Crane’s missions.
  • Indiana defense industry initiatives: Leaders from 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.

Members of WRMCA will provide an update on the State of the Community at the Alliance’s February 2022 meeting. 

NSA Crane aims to strengthen and modernize infrastructure

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

High-quality infrastructure can increase productivity, streamline projects, and create a more optimal work environment for employees. For two of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane’s major tenants, modernizing infrastructure can help lead to solutions for some of the world’s most complex technological challenges.

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane (NSWC Crane) and Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) both celebrated new facilities this fall to strengthen the organizations’ infrastructure. 

CAAA opened two facilities on Sept. 2, a plating shop and a centralized receiving department. The plating shop features automated lines to chemically treat steel, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and brass surfaces. The receiving department is CAAA’s first-of-its-kind centralized facility, which will be used primarily for receiving inbound shipments of ammunition and explosives.

CAAA team members have worked to design, fund, and construct these facilities for more than a decade. This is one of the first times that CAAA has completed two projects around the same time, which made last month’s ribbon-cutting ceremony especially monumental.

Earlier this week, NSWC Crane held a groundbreaking for the Strategic Radiation Testing Modernization Facility, which will conduct testing for radiation hardness. Radiation can harm the operation of microelectronic materials used for military applications, even causing malfunctions and failures in aerospace electronics. The need for materials that can withstand radiation has grown in the past decades, especially because satellites that transmit data rely on these materials.

Several years ago, studies indicated that there was not enough capacity or capability in the strategic radiation testing equipment to continue supporting the base’s current strategic mission.

This facility will provide important capacity to support testing for multiple, concurrent, future nuclear modernization programs.

The new facilities demonstrate both NSWC Crane and CAAA’s commitment to modernizing operations. The new equipment, processes, and renewed commitment to safety will help Crane provide the highest quality product to the 21st-century force.

Radius Indiana applauds the efforts of both organizations for their commitment to modernizing their infrastructure.

New citizen-led committee formed to leverage potential of southern Indiana

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

Local business, financial, and political leaders recently formed a citizen-led committee to expand support for southern Indiana’s military base and support the region’s economic growth.  

The Crane Regional Defense Group (CDRG) was established in 2020 as a grassroots effort to expand community support and advocate for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) at the local and federal level. Members work with government, industry and military leaders to accelerate regional economic and community development and accelerate the strategic value of Crane. 

CDRG is a subcommittee of the White River Military Coordination Alliance, a community organization that was formed in 2018 to promote positive development and growth in the areas surrounding NSA Crane. 

Our organization has four main objectives:

  1. To educate and inform the businesses, citizens and governments of the region about the economic and cultural benefits of a strong military presence in the region and the importance of supporting regional infrastructure.
  2. To support the expansion of technical and industrial jobs across the full life cycle in Research, Development, Acquisition, Production, Logistics, Depot, Demilitarization, defense-related opportunities as well as the overall growth and diversity of the defense economy in our region.
  3. To provide leadership to facilitate coordination and build consensus on key projects with various entities who have similar interests in maintaining a healthy and stable community, economy and Department of Defense installations in our area.
  4. To serve as a catalyst to assist other government and private organizations in promoting the Logistics, Depot and Production assets at Crane Army Ammunition Activity and the Science and Technology assets at NSWC Crane and in the larger Indiana Uplands communities.

CRDG began meeting regularly in January 2021. In just six months, the committee has appointed an executive committee, established bylaws and membership guidelines, launched membership recruitment, and planned its inaugural event, the 2021 Key Leader Series. 

CRDG is currently accepting registrations for new members. Organizations that join will have opportunities to influence agenda with local defense and community leadership, receive direct briefings on the activities both inside and outside the NSA Crane gates, network with Crane commands and other government agencies, and participate in yearly events. 

Small and large businesses, and businesses that both are and are not involved in the defense industry are welcome to apply.  

To learn more or apply today, visit https://www.craneregionaldefensegroup.org/

New Crane Army Ammunition Activity initiative aims to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

You’ve seen Crane Army Ammunition Activity proudly share its modernization efforts as it prepares to open two new state-of-the-art facilities, and upgrade the way that it keeps the Crane Army family safe on the installation. However, these initiatives are only a part of creating an optimal work environment for its employees. 

Crane Army has also been considering another critical question: How do leaders ensure that the workforce reflects and is prepared for the modernizing landscape of talent management? 

The United States Army’s recent initiative, Project Inclusion, is helping to identify answers. The initiative aims to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the force and build cohesive teams. Through this effort, Army leaders have listened to soldiers, Army civilians and family members to identify practices that inadvertently discriminate. 

The Army is pursuing an approach that maximizes every Soldier’s and Civilian’s potential through data-driven talent management approaches and initiatives, such as Project Inclusion, which will help cultivate a culture that infuses diversity across the leadership, provides individuals with promotion opportunities and maximizes the talents of everyone at every level.

While hosted at NSA Crane, southern Indiana’s military base, Crane Army produces and provides essential munitions for American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Crane Army’s  leaders have been holding a series of listening sessions with supervisors to learn how they can improve talent management. 

Over the recent weeks, supervisors have gathered to speak about recruiting, hiring, training, and retention with the ultimate goal of refining the ways that it hires the right people into the right positions. Workforce planning requires effective communication, and the belief that these listening sessions can be a springboard for many new candidates to start a career at Crane Army.

President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget anticipates an increase of more than 50,000 full-time-equivalent employees to the federal payrolls next year. This increase is part of concerted efforts to attract young and expert workers to federal service. 

Most of this budget’s push for increasing the labor force across the government is likely to come from programs that target recent graduates and highly-skilled workers in areas like information technology (IT) and cybersecurity. Almost 30 percent of federal employees are older than 55, and 8.1 percent of employees are younger than 30, according to the budget proposal’s analytical perspectives. 

Radius recognizes the value of a workforce with diverse ages, backgrounds, and races. Bringing in new talent to our bases, especially citizens with expertise in rapidly developing fields like IT and cybersecurity, is an essential part of creating the best workforce to serve our warfighters and protect our country. 

 

Indiana Defense Task Force combats potential losses of military assets

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

Indiana’s well-established military presence includes commands at Naval Support Activity Crane, the Grissom Air Reserve Base, and a distinguished state national guard with six critical assets. These commands support 14,000 soldiers and airmen, who are located in 52 counties across the state. The Base Realignment & Closure (BRAC) process was implemented in 1988, and the Department of Defense (DoD) repeatedly reduced its investment in Indiana’s military assets as part of that process. 

The Pentagon dollars that increased over the last four years could soon be harder to obtain. Many politicians are calling for a return of fiscal conservatism, and the Treasury will feel the full impact of COVID-19, both the stimulus and its cuts to paychecks and income taxes soon. 

In light of cuts to the Pentagon, potentially 10 percent or more in future years, defense communities should plan for various scenarios. Impacts from a defense budget reduction could include: 

  • Any military program not in existence prior to the previous administration will be subject to close review and re-justification. The number of aircraft to be purchased will be reduced, lot buys pushed out, recapitalization delayed, satellite constellations deferred, and ship keel-laying slowed because of budgetary pressure and/or shifts in defense prioritization. 
  • State-of-the-art technology pursuits like hypersonic weapons, autonomous combat vehicles, and artificial intelligence will be hampered. Legacy programs will be retired, while new acquisitions with lesser effect on service requirements will be canceled. 
  • When the Pentagon sees these types of budget cuts, military leaders typically ask for another round of the BRAC, a nonpartisan process that shutters military bases and consolidates missions to save money and increase military value. The last time the Pentagon closed bases was 2005, and other states came out as winners. 

The state must make a significant effort to avoid additional significant losses of our military assets. In 2019, the Indiana State Legislature established the Indiana Defense Task Force to accomplish the following tasks for Indiana’s military bases: 

  • Identify the public infrastructure and other community support necessary to improve mission efficiencies and for development and expansion; 
  • Identify existing and potential impacts of encroachment; 
  • Identify potential state and local government actions that can minimize the impacts of encroachment and enhance the long-term potential; and
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration among the state, including the military department of the state, political subdivisions, military contractors; and academic institutions to maintain and expand the missions. 

This move by our legislatures recognized changes that could occur in the future defense landscape. We applaud the Indiana State legislature for recognizing that the coalition that fights for Indiana’s military assets must grow, and grow stronger. 

Washington, Indiana Sites Receive Certifications

Two prime business development sites in Washington, Indiana, have received Gold and Silver Site Certifications, making two additional southern Indiana locations to take advantage of a new certification program through Radius Indiana’s partnership with Verisite.

Verisite is the result of the collaboration between Ginovus, Plaka + Associates, and the Veridus Group that brings considerable industry experience in economic development, site selection, and engineering. 

The Verisite Silver Certification gives companies and site selectors the assurance the site is ready for expedited development and that all needed documentation and data has been compiled and verified, which results in cost savings and speed to market for a new business.

Located at the intersection of Interstate 69 and Highway 50 in Washington, the 47-acre and 183-acre greenfield sites offer prime locations for future industrial or commercial development. Both sites benefit from the condition and accessibility of existing infrastructure within close proximity, established local development ordinances, and aggressive local, regional, and state-level incentives. 

The locations have access to critical utility infrastructure needed to establish state of the art facilities, as evidenced by M&C Tech establishing their first manufacturing operations in the community and most recently True Rx Management Services.

Radius Indiana, the regional economic development organization, is actively recruiting veterans to the region through a digital marketing campaign designed to help bring additional talent to meet local employers’ needs. In addition, Radius is launching two new workforce training programs: “Catapult” and “Build Your Own,” which focus on the upskilling of workers to meet the needs of manufacturing and construction trades. 

Another regional organization, Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI,) is actively administering a program called Ready Schools that leads to the creation of student-run manufacturing businesses as training grounds. In addition, ROI has programming for STEM Fellows, digital fabrication labs, out-of-school STEM learning, graduation and career coaches, career pathways, educator boot camp, and work-based learning.

Washington actively partners with both organizations to better connect growing talent to the region’s career opportunities to include advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and defense.

The Verisite program creates opportunities for excellent locations, like Washington,  to become a preferred location for industrial growth and innovation. The comprehensive site certification process compensates for industry gaps, such as brownfields and existing buildings. The proprietary program creates a narrative around in-depth market research and analyzes human capital components in order to provide decision-makers with reliable data. 

The tenured firms involved in Verisite designed and built the proprietary process for site certification to finally establish universal definitions and designations for site certification. This offers a modern, trustworthy standard for property owners, developers, and communities that utilizes a consistent and standardized set of criteria to determine all aspects of a site’s readiness for development.

“We commend Daviess County and the region for being proactive in their site development efforts. Communities that understand speed to market and the importance of mitigating risk, are well-positioned to win site selection projects”, said Leslie Wagner, Senior Principal, Ginovus.

For more information on the certified sites in Washington, Indiana, contact Radius Indiana at j.quyle@radiusindiana.com or 812-277-9778. 

 

 

NSWC Crane names first-ever female technical director

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

Dr. Angie Lewis has been named the new technical director for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane), becoming the first woman to be selected for the position. 

Lewis will act as the senior civilian at NSWC Crane, working with her team to ensure a mission-ready environment for the command’s operations. NSWC Crane has more than 3,800 military and civilian employees, providing the Navy with acquisition engineering, in-service engineering, and technical support for sensors, electronics, electronic warfare, and special warfare weapons.

Lewis began her career at NSWC Crane in 1990, and previously served as the Center’s Business Director. Prior to that position, she was the command’s first female Chief of Staff. In 2015, she won a Torchbearer Award from the Indiana Commission for Women, which is presented to women who have stepped forward as leaders by breaking down barriers and overcoming obstacles.  

Lewis sets an example for young women who want to seek careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) industries. According to a 2018 study by the National Science Foundation, women remain underrepresented in STEM-related fields. Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but account for only 28 percent of the science and engineering workforce. In this prestigious position, Lewis will continue to serve as representation for women, and inspire more women to get involved in traditionally male-dominated fields. 

NSWC Crane is an advocate for STEM programs in the surrounding communities, and launched its own STEM program in 2010, which is supported by more than 100 NSWC Crane employee volunteers. The STEM Program provides hands-on learning opportunities to students grades K-12 through STEM education programming and events throughout the Indiana Uplands region. 

This program includes summer STEM camps, and after-school programming and field trips to WestGate Academy. NSWC Crane employee volunteers participate in sponsored-school partnerships, mentor students in classrooms, and support science fairs, a STEM club, and VEX and First Robotics competitions for students. In April 2020, the program responded to community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking its program virtual to continue to provide educational opportunities for students.

Radius Indiana recognizes the importance of building the workforce pipeline for jobs in the region, and having a strong, diverse talent pool ready for hire. Our region is in a unique position to directly benefit from having a naval base in our backyard. Dr. Angie Lewis sets a tremendous example for women to enter the STEM field and help build our region’s workforce.

Radius applauds NSWC Crane for its STEM activities and the opportunities they continue to provide to the region, and congratulates Dr. Angie Lewis on her new position. We look forward to working with you and seeing an increase of women in STEM careers because of your inspiration.

Crane Army Continues to Invest in Critical Modernization Efforts

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support

 

The Army’s Organic Industrial Base is working toward a strategic modernization effort. While currently meeting the needs of its Joint Warfighters and Coalition Partners, it is simultaneously working to modernize its facilities to address aging conditions and meet future capabilities.

According to a testimony by Gen. Edward Daly to the House Armed Services Committee, across the industrial base the buildings and infrastructure that support the ammunition industrial base average 58 years old, exceeding their expected useful service life of 50 years. More than half were built prior to 1945 and must be modernized to meet the evolving capabilities required.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity, as a member of that industrial base, is also a core tenant at Naval Support Activity Crane. Established in 1977, Crane Army works to safely receive, inspect, store, ship, renovate, demilitarize, and manufacture conventional ammunition, missiles, and related components to support Army and Joint Force readiness.

As aging facilities that support the ammunition production mission become less capable, it can increase the risk to Army readiness and the safety of its personnel. Facilities with the appropriate size and configuration, utilities and technology for the capability, availability of adequate equipment necessary to perform the work required, environmental conditions suitable for personnel to safely perform the work, and the availability of skilled labor with the unique industrial competencies are all required to support the Crane Army mission.

Human handling of the materials located in these facilities should also be replaced with process automation or other technology solutions, freeing the workforce to focus on technical oversight. The Army’s goal is state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and machinery that have safety standards built in, not only improving safety for the workforce, but making production more efficient and effective while reducing risk to production.

In the last few years Crane Army has completed a new Crane Flexible Manufacturing Complex and has nearly finished new plating and ammunition receiving facilities. Total investments for these projects exceeded $50 million. In addition to typical annual restoration and modernization activities across thier facilities, an explosive railcar holding yard and new storage magazines are planned over the next 3-4 years totaling nearly $35 million in additional investments.

Part of the investment comes through Crane Army’s active participation in the Army Modernization Program, which is the Army’s core initiative to replace the largest, most important national-level logistics systems. With these improvements, Crane Army can support the warfighter while protecting the surrounding environment and communities in which its workforce lives.

Radius Indiana applauds Crane Army’s continued investment in its operations, facilities and workforce as it continues its legacy of excellence in serving our nation and providing economic vitality for our region.

Southern Indiana Site Receives Silver Site Certification

LINTON, Ind. (Nov. 17, 2020) — The Linton, Indiana Dunkerly Industrial site has received Silver Site Certification, making it another southern Indiana location to take advantage of a new certification program through Radius Indiana’s partnership with Verisite.

Verisite is the result of collaboration between Ginovus, Plaka + Associates, and the Veridus Group that brings considerable industry experience in economic development, site selection, and engineering. 

The Verisite Silver Certification gives companies and site selectors the assurance the site is ready for expedited development and that all needed documentation and data has been compiled and verified, which results in cost savings and speed to market for a new business.

Located in Greene County, Indiana, the 60.97-acre greenfield site is a prime location for a future small to medium production, manufacturing or logistics facility with readily available access to electric, water, sanitary sewer, natural gas, and existing roadways as well as potential access to rail. The site also affords unencumbered design choices for parking, landscaping, and signage.

In addition to the physical site attributes, the City and its partners requested Verisite’s support to identify the community assets that contribute to potential opportunities for future development. The site is eligible for multiple local and regional incentive programs and has connections to a myriad of workforce development initiatives underway in the area.

Radius Indiana, the regional economic development organization, is actively recruiting veterans to the region through a digital marketing campaign designed to help bring additional talent to meet local employers’ needs. In addition, Radius is launching two new workforce training programs: “Catapult” and “Build Your Own,” which focus on the upskilling of workers to meet the needs of manufacturing and construction trades. Another regional organization, Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI,) is actively administering a program called Ready Schools that leads to the creation of student-run manufacturing businesses as training grounds. In addition, ROI has programming for STEM Fellows, digital fabrication labs, out-of-school STEM learning, graduation and career coaches, career pathways, educator boot camp, and work-based learning.

Linton actively partners with both organizations to better connect growing talent to the region’s career opportunities to include advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and defense.

The Verisite program creates opportunities for excellent locations, like Linton, Indiana, to become a preferred location for industrial growth and innovation. The comprehensive site certification process compensates for industry gaps, such as brownfields and existing buildings. The proprietary program creates a narrative around in-depth market research and analyzes human capital components in order to provide decision-makers with reliable data. 

The tenured firms involved in Verisite designed and built the proprietary process for site certification to finally establish universal definitions and designations for site certification. This offers a modern, trustworthy standard for property owners, developers, and communities that utilizes a consistent and standardized set of criteria to determine all aspects of a site’s readiness for development.

“In today’s competitive market, communities that undertake site due diligence are at a competitive advantage.  Whether helping existing businesses grow or attracting new industries, having a certified site increases speed to market and reduces risk. We commend Greene County and the local Linton leadership for their efforts in further preparing the community for economic development,” Leslie Wagner, senior principal, Ginovus. 

For more information on the Dunkerly Industrial Site in Linton, Indiana, contact Radius Indiana at j.quyle@radiusindiana.com or 812-277-9778. 

Change in Command Brings Excitement for Crane’s Future

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

 

In July of this year, NSA Crane and NSWC Crane welcomed two new commanding officers to lead the southern Indiana installation. 

Commander James L. Smith, commanding officer of NSA Crane, is a 2002 graduate of the United States Naval Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering. Captain Thomas (Duncan) McKay, commanding officer of NSWC Crane, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida State University in 1996, and later earned a Naval Engineer’s Degree and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. Both present impressive resumes and hold a number of personal achievements and various awards.

Like the leaders before them, Smith and McKay will be balancing the responsibilities of learning from the organization’s past and executing plans for its future. While they are adjusting to the new role, both commanders are also tasked with gaining the trust and support of those around them. The leadership teams, stakeholders and communities involved with Crane will also be adapting to the new leadership styles and expectations. 

While both bring a great deal of experience to their respective roles, we are currently living in unprecedented times. Stepping into leadership during a pandemic poses a number of challenges including navigating remote work and changes in logistics and daily operations. We wish them the best as they use new leadership styles to overcome these obstacles moving forward. 

Both Smith and McKay have expressed their appreciation for the community’s support of Crane and its missions, as well as their commitment to sustain the strategic value of Crane while growing the economic prosperity of the region and state of Indiana. This includes maintaining a close relationship with the White River Military Coordination Alliance to continue building strong communication channels, and promoting development within the surrounding areas.

Last year, Crane anticipated increasing the size their workforce in the coming years. Recently, Crane released the date for the 2020 Crane Career Fair, taking place virtually from 2-6pm on Thursday, October 22. Today, Team Crane’s civilian and contractor workforce stands 5,500 strong, the largest in three decades. With over 900 employees becoming eligible for retirement in the next five years, employment opportunities are expected to become available. Our region needs to ensure there is a workforce available to meet the growth needs and replace those retiring in the coming years.