By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana
The White River Military Alliance celebrated five years of accomplishments this past November with a luncheon that brought together state and local leaders, stakeholders from five counties, defense representatives, and the leadership of Naval Support Activity Crane. Keynote speakers highlighted the organization’s accomplishments and monumental impact on the southern Indiana defense ecosystem.
The Alliance was formed in 2018 to promote positive development and growth in the communities that surround NSA Crane. Since its establishment, it has created a model for connectivity between military installations and their surrounding communities by initiating a direct line of communication focused on mutual benefit.
As the third largest US Navy base in the world, NSA Crane covers 64,000 acres and employs nearly 6,200 people, making its daytime population larger than many of the communities that surround the base. The local and military members of the Alliance recognize that the mutual well-being of Crane and the neighboring communities is critical for continued growth of the region’s defense economy.
Over the past five years, WRMCA worked to address the 87 recommendations that were identified in a 2017 Joint Land Use Study, a collaborative planning initiative undertaken by state or local government in partnership with a military installation to protect and preserve military readiness and defense capabilities while supporting continued community growth and economic
The Alliance is proud to say that it is nearly 90 percent through that list. Major accomplishments since 2017 include formalizing a Commitment to Improve Communication and Collaboration between the installation and the communities, and a 911 Emergency Dispatch Agreement to coordinate and transfer 911 calls originating from NSA Crane from the county Dispatch Centers to the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Dispatch Center. Additionally, a Conservation Incentive Toolkit was designed to identify opportunities for land conservation in the communities that neighbor Crane and Lake Glendora, and this program was nationally recognized during the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program in 2020.
Most recently, the Alliance, in partnership with the Southern Indiana Development Commission, was awarded nearly $500,000 to develop two separate initiatives in the southern Indiana region. A Regional Resilience Master Plan will work to identify the effect of projected climate scenarios on shared critical infrastructure that may impact mission readiness and help to understand shared vulnerabilities and risks both inside and outside NSA Crane and Lake Glendora Test Facility boundaries. In addition, a housing coalition will be created to grow the pool of local development talent to increase residential options for those living near the local military installations.
The Alliance still has a lot to look forward to, including program implementation on projects such as Intergovernmental Support Agreements, the Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape, and military compatibility alongside the Indiana Defense Task Force. Radius applauds WRMCA for the achievements it has reached over the last five years and looks forward to the continuing partnership in the years to come.