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CRDG hosts NSA Crane’s State of the Installation Address at Key Leader Series Forum

WESTGATE@CRANE Technology Park, (Odon) Indiana (Dec. 2, 2022) — Crane Regional Defense Group (CRDG) hosted its fourth-quarter installment of the Key Leader Series Nov. 10 at the WestGate Academy. Naval Support Activity Commanding Officer Cmdr. James Smith provided the keynote address, briefing the group on installation successes over the past year, ongoing initiatives and workforce needs, and upcoming projects including a future base master plan.

The annual “State of the Installation Address” is traditionally given exclusively to the White River Military Coordination Alliance and provides an opportunity for Team Crane to share its strategic goals and any operational changes or proposed construction projects that may impact the Alliance membership and the communities they serve. This first-of-its-kind, unrestricted key leader series briefing was designed to do the same, with a focus on the opportunities local businesses and leaders have to connect with their communities in relation to base priorities and upcoming initiatives.

“Naval Support Activity Crane is eager to build upon and expand our local business and community partnerships under a Future Base Design initiative designed to bring increased optimization, mission support efficiencies, and stronger ties to services available outside the fence,” said Smith. “Intergovernmental Support Agreements, educational partnerships with academia, and collaborative initiatives with industry will aim to provide new and innovative ways to support NSA Crane while mutually benefiting the local community and the region.”

Cmdr. Smith’s address included the following key updates about the installation, highlighting its priorities, upcoming plans and opportunities for community collaboration:

Future mission growth and planning: NSA Crane will update its Installation Development Plan (Master Plan) in 2023, complete Horizontal Gap Analysis Studies for infrastructure capacity and performance, and initiate resiliency studies to analyze the base along with the surrounding area. Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane (NSWC Crane) also are participating in strategic planning processes for modernization, mission growth, and future base design, respectively.

Improvements and infrastructure: More than $150 million in construction projects and infrastructure improvements are currently underway on the installation including the CAAA rail holding yard and NSWC’s strategic radiation testing modernization facility. Construction is ongoing for the Underwater Launch Test Complex, which represents a $300 million investment in infrastructure that is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

Recruitment and job trends: Through increased involvement at career fairs both virtually and in-person, social media postings, direct hiring authorities and engagement with direct commands, installation employment is expected to grow three to five percent over the next five years. NSWC Crane has hired over 1,300 individuals over the last three years, which represents the largest number seen since the 1980s.

Opportunities for educational collaboration: Team Crane identified opportunities to continue to explore educational partnerships with state institutions that will build a strong talent pipeline to fill jobs. Currently there are multiple connections with universities and skilled trades such as the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Purdue University, conservation and environmental study efforts with Indiana University, Vincennes University business and industrial training program, and growing partnerships with Ivy Tech Community College.

“We are grateful for the partnership we share with Crane and its leadership, as this address allows us to better understand how our members and businesses can support the installation,” said Kent Parisien, chair of CRDG. “We are also thrilled for the many ongoing initiatives and development opportunities throughout the region and look forward to seeing them come to fruition while continuing to grow our connections and relationships inside the gates.”

Cmdr. Smith also gave an overview of Team Crane’s successfully completed and implemented projects and programs throughout the last year such as:

● Completing facility and infrastructure projects which include the CAAA plating shop, NSWC Crane Submarine Battery Evaluation Center, a new dining facility, and more than 65 additional public works projects;

● Renewing the Education Partnership with Indiana University and expanding the collaboration with others;

● Executing Silent Swarm, a two-week technology experimentation event bringing in more than 150 Electromagnetic Warfare subject matter experts from industry, academia, and civilian and military personnel;

● And continuing to provide munitions and support to our nation’s warfighters around the globe.

In addition to the address, Crane Regional Defense Group opened the event with a special tribute to our nation’s veterans in recognition of Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Parisien asked the group to take a moment to pay respect to those who served as well as celebrate and honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

To learn more about CRDG, register for the next Key Leader Series, or become a member, visit

ABOUT CRANE REGIONAL DEFENSE GROUP: Crane Regional Defense Group is a citizen-led committee that creates partnerships between chambers of commerce, county councils, financial institutions and business leaders to preserve the strategic value of Crane by supporting local outreach and legislative initiatives that protect military installations in the region and state, and leverage the installation’s potential to bring economic growth to Southern Indiana.

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