MassDevelopment

ViewPoint: State’s military task force also at front of innovation

February 24, 2017 : Boston Business Journal, by John Beatty


To the editor:

Thank you for your recent story and editorial on how Massachusetts’ reputation for innovation, collaboration, and leading research has positioned the commonwealth well to contribute to the nation’s military future (“Sights set on survival: Mass. pins hopes on new ‘military-innovation’ complex,” Feb. 10, 2017).

With regard to your editorial, it is worth noting the creation and work of the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, which has helped build this collaborative culture and emphasis on partnerships in the Massachusetts defense sector. Led by Gov. Charlie Baker and co-chaired by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and U.S. Reps. Niki Tsongas and Seth Moulton, the task force aims to expand missions, spur job creation, and make our bases more efficient. It also connects academia, business, and the defense sector that your editorial describes as crucial in the debate about defense funding and jobs. We do so by working with the six Massachusetts bases, holding workshops to highlight opportunities for Massachusetts businesses, and partnering with DIUx (Defense Innovation Unit Experimental) and the Massachusetts Innovation Bridge, two of the forward-thinking strategies in the “military-innovation complex.”

A 2015 Donahue Institute report estimated that the commonwealth’s military installations generate $13.2 billion in economic activity and support more than 57,600 jobs. The efforts your story describes at Natick Soldier Systems Center, along with high-tech radar, communications and cyber programs at Hanscom Air Force Base, play a major role in research and development activity in the commonwealth and nation. The Department of Defense’s decision to locate a DIUx office in Cambridge shows federal acknowledgement of Massachusetts’ innovation culture and connects with the missions at those two bases.

We appreciate your help in telling the story of the commonwealth’s military installations, and the task force looks forward to continuing to keep Massachusetts at the forefront of military innovation.

John Beatty
Executive director
Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force