Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force Hosts Air Force, Army, National Guard Small Business Forum

December 14, 2015


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

The Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force on Friday hosted a forum during which representatives from Hanscom Air Force Base, Natick Soldier Systems, the Massachusetts National Guard, and businesses leaders discussed how to work more closely with the U.S. Air Force, Army and National Guard.  Marty Jones of MassDevelopment and numerous military officials spoke about upcoming opportunities and the importance of the Commonwealth’s military installations to Massachusetts and the nation. The forum comes ahead of a Dec. 18 event at Westover Air Reserve Base, in which officials will unveil two new economic studies of the defense sector’s impact.

“I hear regularly from local small businesses looking for more information about how they can take advantage of contracting opportunities with the Army, Air Force and Department of Defense,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-3). “This forum provides small businesses with a unique opportunity to learn about contracting or partnering with two world-class military installations located right here in the Commonwealth and ensure local companies understand the needs of places like Hanscom, Natick and the broader federal government. Events like these support greater collaboration between the military and industry and improve our economy and I commend MassDevelopment and the experts from Hanscom and Natick for their commitment to hosting this event each year.” 

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 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 presented “How to Do Business with the Air Force” and discussed ways for businesses to gain information about upcoming offerings.  

“Events like this are extremely important in getting our Air Force requirements out to industry and generating effective competition,” said Steven D. Wert, AFPEO for Battle Management. 

Natick Soldier Systems Center is responsible for the technology, development, engineering, fielding, and sustenance of the food, clothing, shelter, airdrop systems, and soldier support items that protect and sustain U.S. military forces. The installation had a 2011 economic impact of $5.5 billion and contributes more than 14,500 jobs to the Commonwealth. Army officials gave a similar presentation on how small businesses can work with Natick.   

Colonel Thomas Devine of the Massachusetts National Guard also presented on how small businesses can collaborate with that branch of the military. The Massachusetts Army and Air National Guard operate in multiple locations throughout the Commonwealth, providing opportunities for firms in various regions to work with the National Guard. Those presentations are posted here.

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 Task Force, and MassDevelopment continues to partner with the Baker Administration to enhance and promote Massachusetts’ military bases.

“The Commonwealth’s military installations are economic drivers and provide many opportunities for small businesses across Massachusetts,” said Jones.  “We’re pleased to partner with the Baker Administration on events like this one to show best practices to connect to this $14 billion sector.” 

For this forum, the Task Force and MassDevelopment also 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. 

“NDIA is pleased to be co-sponsoring this year's event. With the Air Force and Army both so integral to the dynamic security global challenges, we commend both services for exposing smaller companies to opportunities where industry support is most needed. Again, MassDevelopment deserves recognition for remaining the Massachusetts linchpin in promoting the national security assets embedded in our state,” said NDIA New England Chapter President Paul Serotkin.

“Massachusetts employers have proudly supplied the United States military for hundreds of years. Events like the Air Force/Army Business Day ensure that the next generation of employers will forge their own business relationships with the remarkable military installations here in the Bay State,” said Associated Industries of Massachusetts EVP of Marketing and Communications Chris Geehern.

“SENEDIA applauds the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force and MassDevelopment for promoting this important opportunity for defense companies to meet with leaders from Hanscom Air Force Base and the Natick Soldier Systems Center and share their innovative technical and business services and products.  The New England defense industry continues to innovate and grow, supporting thousands of high-tech, high-paying jobs while producing unrivaled, next-generation capabilities for the Department of Defense,” said Molly Donohue Magee, Executive Director of the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance.

"Our region’s military installations play a tremendous role not just in keeping our nation safe, but also in our region's economy as key partners for a wide variety of businesses. The New England Council is committed to supporting our region's defense sector and is proud to sponsor this year's event," said James T. Brett, President & CEO of The New England Council. 

About the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force
Housed within the Office of the Governor and supported by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and MassDevelopment, the Task Force coordinates among the Commonwealth’s six military facilities to maximize their efficiency. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is home to six military installations with more than $13 billion in total economic activity and support for more than 61,000 jobs, including Hanscom Air Force Base, Natick Soldier Systems Center, Joint Base Cape Cod, Fort Devens, Westover Air Force Reserve Base and Barnes Air National Guard Base.