MassDevelopment

Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force and Military Base Leadership Host the National Commission on the Structure on the Air Force

November 21, 2013


Contacts:
Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Michael Hartigan, Cong. Tsongas, 202-225-3411

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Massachusetts – Thursday, November 21, 2013 – Major General L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard, along with Barnes Air National Guard Base, Hanscom Air Force Base, Otis Air National Guard Base, and Westover Air Reserve Base leadership and members of the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force today welcomed staff members from the National Commission on the Structure on the Air Force to discuss the U.S. Air Force’s presence in the Commonwealth and to highlight the state’s ongoing efforts to promote and support the U.S. Air Force at installations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The National Commission on the Structure on the Air Force was invited to Massachusetts by Governor Deval Patrick, the entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, including Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, the only member of Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation serving on an Armed Services Committee and a Co-Chair of the Military Task Force.

“The importance of this Commission became very clear to our entire delegation following the reorganization of the Air Force Materiel Command last year, particularly as it impacted Hanscom Air Force Base. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I understand how necessary it is to look at structural changes as the Air Force attempts to meet ongoing budget restraints, but I also strongly supported this Commission so that we do our best to scrutinize these changes and ensure they are not undermining the Air Force’s ability to respond to future threats. For example, I believe that it is essential for the Commission to consider the significance of technical installations such as Hanscom, particularly since it is the only active duty Air Force installation in all of New England. Seeing and hearing firsthand about the unique Air Force capabilities located in Massachusetts and the unique and unparalleled synergies located in this region will clarify how essential the Commonwealth is to the Air Force's mission. I thank the Commission for visiting and look forward to working with them moving forward.” – Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-3)

The National Commission on the Structure on the Air Force was established by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. The Commission is tasked to submit a report, containing a comprehensive study and recommendations, by February 1, 2014 to the President of the United States and the Congressional defense committees. The comprehensive study of the structure of the U.S. Air Force will determine whether, and how, the structure should be modified to best fulfill current and anticipated mission requirements for the U.S. Air Force in a manner consistent with available resources. The Commission is also interested in how Governors use the National Guard for homeland and domestic response to natural and other disasters, and also how the Air Force works with community, education, federally funded research and development centers, and industry partners.

“The Commission is grateful that it had the opportunity for staff to visit the Total Air Force facilities and supporting programs in Massachusetts,” said Military Executive Sean Conroy and Senior Researcher Cathleen Haverstock, staff from the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force. “We were able to see a strong relationship among the Active, Reserve, National Guard, as well as supportive civilian partners, in Massachusetts.”

During their day in Massachusetts, the Commission staff received a series of briefings at Hanscom Air Force Base and the Massachusetts National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters, toured the Guard’s Joint Operations Center for homeland security and domestic response, and participated in a driving tour of the 846 acre base. Following the visit at Hanscom, the Commission staff traveled to MIT Lincoln Laboratory and MITRE for briefings on the critical work those federally funded research and development centers undertake for the Air Force’s national security missions right here in Massachusetts. The Commission staff also visited the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge for a briefing on Harvard’s active collaboration with the National Guard Homeland Security Institute.

General Rice and Patrick Administration officials expressed the Commonwealth’s commitment to the U.S. Air Force during today’s visit by highlighting the ongoing work of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force and illustrating Massachusetts’ community partnerships and competitive business, innovation, education and workforce advantages which together play a critical role in ensuring we provide the very best services to our servicemembers and field peerless technologies to defend our nation. Together they and members of the offices of Senator Warren, Congressman Neal, Congressman Tierney, and Congresswoman Tsongas’ offices outlined the Military Task Force’s efforts in partnership with Air Force installations regarding infrastructure upgrades, workforce development, cyber security, energy efficiency, master planning, veterans' services, military family support, and mission enhancements.

“We strongly value our partnerships with the Air Force’s leadership and thank the representatives of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force for visiting Massachusetts,” said Major General L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. “We are confident the Commission will see the Commonwealth’s military installations, robust innovation economy, and growing cyber industry are key to both our national defense and homeland security, as well as understand the tremendous value our National Guard represents in minimizing the cost of maintaining a large, ready, and accessible force structure with highly experienced personnel.”

“The Commonwealth’s military installations showcase our cutting-edge technology and highly-skilled workforce, both essential to supporting the U.S. Air Force,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We appreciate the Commission taking the time to visit Massachusetts and see the important work happening at Barnes, Hanscom, Otis, and Westover.”

The Commission's time in Massachusetts follows a recent visit by General Mark A. Welsh III, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. General Welsh received briefings at Hanscom Air Force Base on the critical work being carried out here in Massachusetts and participated in a State House meeting with Governor Patrick, Senator Warren, Senator Markey, Congressman Tierney, and Congresswoman Tsongas to discuss the importance of the Air Force’s presence to the Massachusetts economy and the Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts to promote and support the Air Force. Read about that visit here:

About the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force
In 2012 Governor Patrick supported the Task Force’s creation to assess each installation’s military assets, infrastructure and growth opportunities. The Task Force is co-chaired by the Governor, Congresswoman Tsongas, and former Senator Cowan. The six military bases include: Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield; Fort Devens; Hanscom Air Force Base; Joint Base Cape Cod; Natick Soldier Systems Center; and Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. These installations account for a total economic impact of $14.2 billion and over 46,500 jobs for the Massachusetts economy.

To learn more about the Task Force, please visit: www.mass.gov/governor/military.