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Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force Hosts a Small Business Forum With Hanscom Air Force Base

December 11, 2013

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077

Senator William Cowan and Steven Wert, Program Executive Officer for Battle Management at Hanscom Air Force Base, address the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force's Small Business Forum with the U.S. Air Force.

BURLINGTON – Wednesday, December 11, 2013 – The Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force today hosted a forum where representatives from Hanscom Air Force Base, small businesses and industry leaders discussed ways to pursue business opportunities with the U.S. Air Force. Former U.S. Senator and Military Task Force Co-Chair William “Mo” Cowan, Marty Jones of MassDevelopment, Michael Hunter of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and numerous U.S. Air Force officials spoke about upcoming opportunities and the importance of Hanscom Air Force Base to Massachusetts and the nation.

Working alongside the Patrick Administration's goals to increase access to opportunities and growth for small businesses, the U.S. Air Force is focused on increasing small business partnerships. In Massachusetts, small businesses represent 85 percent of all companies and employ more than one-fourth of the workforce. The Patrick Administration has worked to increase the competitiveness of small businesses by investing in education, innovation and infrastructure, and by streamlining state regulations to reduce extra burdens on small businesses, helping them to continue to thrive and create jobs. Today's forum served as another example of the Commonwealth's work to enhance partnerships between industry and the military, in this case specifically at Hanscom Air Force Base.

“Hanscom Air Force Base is able to take advantage of a high-quality workforce, world-class educational institutions, and advanced technological companies in Massachusetts”, said Senator William “Mo” Cowan. “As a Co-Chair of the Military Task Force I am pleased to be part of the effort the Patrick Administration has in partnership with Hanscom as they expand their community outreach and strengthen their communication with small businesses.”

“As the only Massachusetts member on the House Armed Services Committee and working in conjunction with my colleagues on the Task Force, I have seen an extraordinary opportunity to foster partnerships between our military installations and small businesses”, said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-3). “Massachusetts continues investing in and marshaling some of the best minds and resources in the world, taking advantage of our unique combination of a strong military tradition, top-notch academic institutions and innovative companies. Hanscom in particular is developing cutting edge technologies that are helping the Air Force address some of its most pressing challenges. Altogether it makes for a strong environment to grow and support small business innovation research and small business growth. I look forward to continuing my work to support these important opportunities.”

Hanscom Air Force Base, the only active duty Air Force base in New England, is an 846-acre base located in Bedford, Lexington and Lincoln, bordering Concord. At the base, a mix of active-duty military, civilian and contractor employees develop and acquire sophisticated radar, cyber and information technology-based systems that provide critical battlefield situational awareness to U.S. warfighters. Hanscom's mission expanded last year with the Massachusetts Air and National Guard headquarters relocating their operations to the base. The Base creates more than 3,600 direct and 14,500 indirect jobs for a total of more than18,000 jobs, with a 2011 economic impact of $8.44 billion for the Commonwealth's economy.

At today's forum, staff from Hanscom Air Force Base's Office of Contracting gave a presentation entitled “How to Do Business with the Air Force” and discussed ways for businesses to more easily gain information about upcoming offerings and have their questions answered. David Sikora from the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program discussed his office's goals to stimulate technology research by small businesses while providing the government with cost-effective technical and scientific solutions to challenging problems.

Program Executive Officer for Battle Management at Hanscom Air Force Base Steven Wert spoke about business opportunities and timeframes covering a large portfolio of programs. His office saw its small business share in Fiscal Year 13 increase by 43 percent over the prior year and seeks additional growth in Fiscal Years 14-15. The Battle Management portfolio includes products and product support in the areas of aerospace management, weather, intelligence, operations centers, mission planning, command and control, surveillance sensors, early warning radars, deployable sensors, tactical air control party equipment, intrusion detection equipment, power conditioning, shelters, towers and radomes.

“Innovation and cost-effectiveness are not the exclusive domains of a limited number of large defense contractors,” said Steve Wert, the Air Force's program executive officer for Battle Management, located at Hanscom. “We know there are small businesses that can contribute to our mission in valued-added ways. And increasing small business participation requires us to compete more of our program content, which in turn requires us to operate with more sophisticated acquisition strategies that are inherently more cost-effective in the long run.”

The Military Task Force organized the forum in partnership with MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency, which works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. Marty Jones, President and CEO of MassDevelopment, also serves on the Military Task Force, and MassDevelopment continues to partner with the Patrick Administration to enhance and promote Hanscom Air Force Base and Massachusetts' military bases.

“The Commonwealth's military installations contribute more than $14 billion to the Massachusetts economy,” said Jones. “We're pleased to partner with the Patrick Administration on events like this one to show small businesses how they can connect to this important sector.”

Additionally, the Military Task Force and MassDevelopment partnered with associations and organizations such as the Defense Technology Initiative (DTI); Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE); Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA); New England Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA); Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM); Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network's Procurement Technical Assistance Center; and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development. These organizations work together to support companies in the region and allow them to connect directly with Hanscom leadership to pursue mutual collaborations.

“The Defense Technology Initiative is proud to help organize events like this that help Hanscom decision-makers connect with innovative Massachusetts technology firms that can help them advance their mission,” said DTI President Chris Anderson.

“Congratulations to the Commonwealth for bringing together the defense industry and the military to explore mutual opportunities where our smaller companies can provide innovative services and products,” said Paul Serotkin, President, New England Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and Senior Adviser, Venture Management, Inc. “Never has the time been more critical to have state government, the military and the small business community engage in keeping our national security strong, and I'm glad our state is participating in that endeavor.”

“Associated Industries of Massachusetts applauds efforts to improve interactions with small businesses as the Defense Department looks to increase collaboration with innovative small business enterprises,” said Michele Slafkosky, AIM's Regional Membership Director.

The importance of this forum and small business partnerships was discussed at 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, Representative Tierney and Representative Tsongas. At that meeting, they discussed 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 in workforce development, small business partnerships, energy efficiency, master planning for secure and efficient base operations and cyber security and information technology mission enhancements. Read about the 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, Representative 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 more than 46,500 Massachusetts jobs.

To learn more about the Task Force, please visit: