The week before last, I shared with you my excitement regarding our upcoming legislative tour of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane. This is something I have organized not just this year but for the past few years because I believe that Crane’s message is one that deserves sharing.
Due to the nature of their work, much of what Crane does has to be somewhat secretive. Quite honestly, some people do not even know it exists. On the other hand, there are many others who know about it but simply take its presence for granted. During the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) however, Indiana almost lost Crane.
My main goal in arranging these tours is to show state lawmakers that this facility is an absolutely essential resource to the state of Indiana. As well as serving as a leader for technology-driven innovation and educational opportunity, Crane is one of the largest employers in the state and contributes more than $2 million to the Hoosier economy every day. Could you imagine Indiana losing that in the blink of an eye?
When using taxpayer dollars, Crane is diligent to obtain the best bang for their buck but also cognizant of the benefits of offering local companies the opportunity to expand their business. These efforts are known as the “Buy Indiana” initiative. They also make a concerted effort to utilize a diverse group of businesses.
In a much larger show of support, Crane is one of the main reasons behind the construction of I-69. Once completed, this new interstate will make it much easier to transport goods to and from Crane and better connect it to the major arteries running through the country. This will further improve Crane’s value to the Department of Defense (DOD).
During our tour, one of the most exciting things we had the opportunity to learn about was their electronic warfare capabilities. Like many of us who always have our cell phones attached at the hip, America’s enemies are depending more and more on electronics and using ‘the spectrum’ to fight wars. What is necessary to win wars today is simply not the same as it was 15 years ago.
Additionally, like our technological devices that keep upgrading, getting faster and more advanced, so too do the technologies of our enemies. This is an industry in which you have to constantly be evolving and trying to remain one step ahead of the opponent. It is also an industry in which Crane thrives.
After learning about all that they do at Crane, I think the biggest thing we can take away is that Crane is relevant. They have state-of-the-art facilities and a team of highly skilled workers who lead the DOD in the areas most applicable to today’s style of war. They are also ready and able to respond if a threat were to occur tomorrow.
I am encouraged by Crane’s enthusiasm to remain on the cutting-edge of military technology and make Indiana the new face of innovation and DOD superiority. When it comes to BRAC, Crane’s relevance truly does give them an edge but it does not make them completely safe. That depends on us - to share their message and increase awareness about all that they do.
I want to thank Crane for their hospitality as well as their willingness to share with us what their technical capabilities are. They truly are one of the nation’s most trusted resources to protect the homeland, defeat enemies and defend our freedom and I am proud to have them right here in Indiana!