Inspector General Reviews Relocation of Space Command to Redstone Arsenal

From The Associated Press

DENVER — The Department of Defense’s inspector general announced Friday that it was reviewing the Trump administration’s last-minute decision to relocate U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama.

The decision on Jan. 13, one week before Trump left office, blindsided Colorado officials and raised questions of political retaliation. Trump had hinted at a Colorado Springs rally in 2020 that the command would stay at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

But the man with whom Trump held that rally, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, lost his reelection bid in November, and Colorado, unlike Alabama, voted decisively against Trump. The Air Force’s last-minute relocation of command headquarters to Huntsville — home of the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal — blindsided Colorado officials of both parties, who have urged the Biden administration to reconsider the decision.

On Friday, the inspector general’s office announced it was investigating whether the relocation complied with Air Force and Pentagon policy and was based on proper evaluations of competing locations.

Colorado officials of both parties were thrilled.

“It is imperative that we thoroughly review what I believe will prove to be a fundamentally flawed process that focused on bean-counting rather than American space dominance,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican whose district includes Space Command.

The state’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, also hailed the probe.

“Moving Space Command will disrupt the mission while risking our national security and economic vitality,” the senators said in a joint statement. “Politics have no role to play in our national security. We fully support the investigation.”

Among other duties, the Space Command enables satellite-based navigation and troop communication and provides warning of missile launches. Also based at Peterson are the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, and the U.S. Northern Command.

The Space Command differs from the U.S. Space Force, launched in December 2019 as the first new military service since the Air Force was created in 1947. The Space Command is not an individual military service but a central command for military-wide space operations. It operated at Peterson from 1985 until it was dissolved in 2002, and it was revived in 2019.

The Air Force accepted bids from locations for the command when it was revived and was considering six finalists, including Huntsville, when Trump hinted it’d stay in Colorado Springs.

Sit Down with Success: Lynn Troy, CEO of Troy 7

Sitdown with Success is a feature of the Huntsville Business Journal on entrepreneurs and their keys to success. This month’s subject is Lynn Troy, founder/president/CEO of Troy 7.

Lynn Troy: “Fear of the unknown shouldn’t hold anyone back.” (Photo/Steve Babin)

Lynn Troy calls herself an unlikely entrepreneur. Coming up through the ranks at Teledyne Brown Engineering from a co-op position while completing her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UAH, starting her own government contracting business was not a long-term goal. That changed when she and her husband John got married and a contract they were working on seemed to be slipping away.

Troy7 has been a contender for the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Best Place to Work Award for eight consecutive years from 2013-2020, and a winner for six of those years. In 2020, Troy7 was named the Chamber’s Woman Owned Small Business of the Year.

A graduate of the Huntsville Leadership Flagship Class (L29), Troy serves on several local non-profit boards. She is vice chair of Economic Development for the Huntsville Madison Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee; vice president of the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity; treasurer and finance chair for the Community Foundation; 2021 chair of the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team; and 305 8th Street.

She also serves on UAH’s Last Mile Committee; Women’s Philanthropy Society’s Advisory Board; and is a Hudson Alpha Ambassador.

In 2018, Lynn received the Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership award and was recognized as one of Alabama Media Groups Women Who Shape the State.

In 2013 she received the Technology Award from WEDC’s Women Honoring Women.

What initially attracted you to the Missile Defense industry?

When I was in the ninth grade, I had to do a paper on Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” (Strategic Defense Initiative) program and honestly, I had no idea that was going to be my career destiny.

I thought I was going to be a lawyer, but those plans changed when I found myself a young mother in high school and unable to go off to college or law school.

My dad encouraged me to pursue engineering. He was a mechanical engineer, and knew UAH had an excellent engineering program. He thought electrical would give me the broadest career options, so I enrolled at UAH. When I began working in the Optics Department developing infrared signature models of rockets, that’s when I knew I was hooked on missile defense.

You started working for Teledyne Brown Engineering while you were still at UAH, is that correct?

Teledyne Brown Engineering hired me into their co-op program when I was 18 years old and I had just completed my freshman year at UAH. I was so deeply grateful for the opportunity to have my first real job that I honestly thought I would retire from TBE one day.

It took me 5½ years to complete my electrical engineering degree but along the way I learned so much about government contracting and the various work Teledyne was doing.

I was able to rotate through different assignments and when I landed in the Optics Department, I was hooked, and had found something that I truly loved doing.

It sounds like you had a strong support system behind you at TBE.

I had some amazing mentors who invested in me and helped me not only technically, but who encouraged me to pursue leadership positions.

I was selected for an incredible opportunity to participate in TBE’s Female and Minority Management Training program.

What triggered your starting your own business?

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Teledyne Brown was forced to divest the contract I supported to another company, and Teledyne Solutions was created. While we all hoped it would be an adequate solution to create the separation the government required, after a few years the government decided it was still not enough.

It was during this time, the idea of forming a new company came to being. I had recently remarried and the date was July 7, 2007 or 07/07/07, and that is where I came up with the name of our company, Troy7.

My husband John truly believed we could, together, start a new business.

It was a hard decision to leave TBE after almost 20 years and so many wonderful opportunities, but within a relatively short time after we left, Teledyne Solutions was forced to dissolve as an entity, so I believe we made the best decision we could for us and our family.

How did Troy7 evolve?

With the uncertainty and likely loss of the contract we were on at Teledyne becoming more troubling, we began looking for alternative customers and contracts, and discovered an opportunity with the MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System) program.

MEADS was a tri-national (US, Italy, Germany) program that evolved out of the U.S. Patriot program, and they were nearing their test phase and needed targets to test their system against.

Target flight testing was truly both mine and John’s professional passions. I loved the threat analysis, which ensured the target matched the threat of interest in optical, radar, and flight performance characteristics.

John loved the rockets themselves and knew every detail about them and processing the telemetry flight data on-site all over the world.

We believed we would never have a better opportunity to see if we could build a company doing what we loved than that moment, so, we pulled the trigger and incorporated Troy7 on Nov. 28, 2007, less than  five months after we got married.

Looking back, it’s pretty surreal that we both quit what had been very stable and wonderful jobs and took that leap together. But we both felt strongly that we needed each other, and wouldn’t have been successful if only one of us had tried to do it without the other.

Was the MEADS program your launch pad, so to speak?

We didn’t bring a contract with us for the MEADS work. It was new work, and we worked with (Space and Missile Defense Command) and the NAMEADSMA (NATO MEADS Management Agency) team to set up their Targets Test Program. We were incredibly blessed to support that effort for five years and many flight tests at White Sands Missile Range.

The final test in the program was a dual intercept mission with a south bound ballistic target – John was the Test Conductor – and a north bound air breathing QF-4 target – where I was stationed.

The MEADS system performed brilliantly and successfully destroyed both targets.

It is a little weird to celebrate the destruction of your work, but that’s the life of targets engineers!

During those five years we were working hard to develop new customers and contract vehicles to grow our business and it was a lot of very long days and nights and several years of no vacations or down time, but it was worth it, and I would do it all again.

In a lot of ways, those early formative years are the most fun and exciting, even though you are tired and struggling at times.

What specific challenges did you face in getting started on your own?

I think the biggest challenge we faced in getting started was all the things we didn’t know we didn’t know.

Lynn Troy: “Huntsville is rich with successful small businesses whose founders and leaders are eager to advise and mentor new small businesses.” (Photo/Steve Babin)

I often tell people, I was too naïve to realize how much I didn’t know about the business side, insurances, taxes, corporation rules, the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation), accounting, etc. And it’s probably for the best.

I think it is fear of all those unknowns that holds people back.

I joke that John and I were still in our honeymoon phase, so we were willing to figure it all out as we went. And that is one of the beautiful things about Huntsville. There are so many wonderful and successful people in this town who are all willing to help you, share their experiences, and guide you through the unknowns. Fear of the unknown shouldn’t hold anyone back.

What vision do you have for your business in the future?

We experienced some change in 2020 when John retired.

He had a goal to retire on his 60th birthday so we worked hard to make that a reality last September.

He still comes in a couple days a week to wrap up a project, but it’s more like he’s a consultant, not day-to-day.

This was a huge change for me personally and professionally, and we spent a lot of time talking through the future and our goals.

We know it’s time for us to shift our focus from predominantly subcontracting to going after more prime contracts. We have been so blessed to work with some of the best primes in Huntsville and we have learned so much from them.

It’s our goal to grow into a prime role and treat our teammates as well as we have been treated. Although our biggest customer is the Missile Defense Agency, we also support the Army, NASA, and the Air Force.

Our first priority is ensuring we continue providing excellent support to these customers and exploring prime contract options across our customer base is our current growth focus for the future.

What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into the government contracting business?

Don’t be afraid to fail but be prepared to learn from the surprises and disappointments you will inevitably encounter.

One of my mentors from UAH, Dr. Bassem Mahafza, told me to imagine myself 10 years into the future and ask myself would I look back and regret it if I didn’t at least try. I’m still grateful for his wise counsel.

Number two – build the dream and the vision of your business in your mind before you start building the business. The opportunities will change and the paths to them will detour, but it is essential to know what you’re striving to accomplish before you take the first step toward that goal.

Number three – don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek advice. Huntsville is rich with successful small businesses whose founders and leaders are eager to advise and mentor new small businesses.

Troy7 and I personally have benefitted greatly from Huntsville small business leaders for over 13 years. I continue to try to pay it forward and help mentor new small businesses the same way I was blessed with help.

I will say, there are more barriers to entry today than when we started Troy7. Expensive IT infrastructure requirements, slower and more restrictive acquisitions, and downward pressure on rates, to name a few.

All of these factors require careful consideration but should not be deal breakers since there are so many resources available to help.

And probably the most important advice I could offer – carefully choose your employees and respect and take care of them. From the bottom of my heart, I believe Troy7 has thrived because of our dedicated and talented Troy7 family. It is not just the services we offer that make Troy7 a successful company. It’s our people.

Huntsville Takes Lead on Two Northrop Grumman Projects

Northrop Grumman is bringing two major Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System production programs to its Huntsville manufacturing center. 

The command system is the centerpiece of the Army’s modernization strategy for air and missile defense. 

Most of the work is performed here and the city will be the center of production for the system’s hardware for Poland’s air and missile defense program. The Army has been authorized to proceed with low rate initial production of the systems.

In the first program, Poland has adopted the Army’s command system configuration, which consists of shelters integrated with battle management software manufactured here, that maximizes the combat potential of sensors and weapon systems. 


Shelters arrive at Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville manufacturing facility where they will be outfitted for Poland. (Northrop Grumman Photo)

Six of these shelters have already been delivered to Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville facility for outfitting. Once the integration is complete and after testing, the U.S. will deliver them to Poland.

“Receiving these shelters and kicking off production marks a critical milestone and gets us one step closer to fielding this capability in Poland,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, Combat Systems and Mission Readiness for Northrop Grumman. “Our Huntsville manufacturing center production line is ready and equipped to deliver these command centers on time and on budget.”

The Huntsville Manufacturing Center has been supporting large scale manufacturing programs including the Army’s Command Post Platform. 

In March 2018, Poland signed a foreign military sales agreement with the U.S. to purchase the command systems. They became the first international partner country to acquire this transformational capability and it has become a major component of Poland’s air and missile defense modernization program. This modernized air and missile defense capability will be used alongside U.S. forces and NATO allies.

On the home front, the Army received authorization to transition from the battle command systems development to low rate production, following a successful Milestone C decision for the program.

Approved by the Defense Department, this milestone represents a critical next step in moving the program closer to  deployment.

“The decision by our senior leaders to transition IBCS into initial production reflects their confidence in the maturity of the system and its readiness for operational testing,” said Maj. Gen. Rob Rasch, Army Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. “The soldiers of the 3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion performed tremendously in training and testing over the last year and are poised to demonstrate the game-changing capabilities of IBCS next fall during the initial operational test and evaluation.”

To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman worked in partnership with the Army’s Integrated Fires Mission Command Program Office to design, develop and test the command system hardware and software. Since 2015, the program has executed seven flight tests under realistic conditions, demonstrating game-changing capabilities.

“We are proud to have contributed to this landmark achievement that will help our warfighters better address and defeat evolving threats,” said Todorov. “This milestone is a true testament to the commitment and dedication of all the men and women who have worked tirelessly over many years to deliver a truly revolutionary system.”  

System High Acquires Booz Allen Hamilton TEAMS Contract

Protecting sensitive government activities and operations is one of the biggest national security challenges facing our country.

The Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville got a big boost of momentum with System High’s acquisition of Booz Allen Hamilton’s Technical, Engineering, Advisory, and Management Support (TEAMS) contract with its 110 employees here.

System High specializes in a diverse spectrum of national security protection disciplines and compliance using innovative protection solutions in the areas of Proactive Protection, Security Engineering, Counterintelligence, Intelligence, and Cybersecurity solutions across the Aerospace, Defense, and Government sector. With the TEAMS contract, System High expands its work providing best-in-class protection solutions for information and assets vital to national security.

“The close of this transaction increases our momentum in helping customers solve their most challenging protection problems,” said Rob Howe, System High’s president and CEO. “We welcome these new employees and look forward to combining forces to better protect current and emerging MDA capabilities.

“This is just one of the initiatives being executed to expand our impact to preserve national security, and MDA success is critical for sustaining this objective. We are excited to grow our presence in the Huntsville area, and look forward to serving the community and establishing strong lines of communication and collaboration with the MDA stakeholders so that we can consistently meet and exceed their expectations.”

Booz Allen has supported the DoD for decades helping to accelerate innovation and create transformative solutions to help defend the nation.

Lincoln Hudson, senior vice president and leader of Booz Allen’s Huntsville office, has been instrumental in securing the deal with System High.

“System High is a strong organization for ensuring the continued protection of the essential systems, technologies, and capabilities that enable success of the MDA mission, which is to defend the United States and its allies from hypersonic and ballistic missile attacks,” said Hudson. “We remain fully committed to MDA’s mission and to Huntsville, where we will continue to hire and develop talent, invest in cutting-edge innovation, and deliver high-end technology services.

“We are confident this realignment of the TEAMS business will ensure uninterrupted support for this critical work and are so pleased these jobs will remain part of Huntsville’s thriving technology community as well as others across the country.”

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Boeing Awarded Nearly $1B for Air and Missile Defense

Boeing has been awarded contracts in the past year totaling $974 million to develop a next-generation seeker for the Army’s Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile system, as well as continue and expand production on current generations of the PAC-3 seeker, in Huntsville, as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin.

The seeker provides guidance data to the PAC-3 Missile system, which has protected warfighters around the world from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and hostile aircraft for nearly two decades.

“Boeing is proud to continue its 20-year history of delivering seekers in support of increasing and evolving air and missile defense needs,” said Robert Green, director of Boeing Integrated Air and Missile Defense. “We remain committed to ensuring that the servicewomen and men who rely on the PAC-3 have ready and reliable protection today – and modernized, next-generation capabilities that can outpace, out-innovate, deter and defeat emerging threats of tomorrow.”

Boeing has produced more than 4,000 PAC-3 Missile seekers since 2000 and recently set a 12-month program production record in support of expanding air and missile defense requirements for the U.S, its allies and international partners worldwide – despite working amid physical distancing and other health and safety measures.

Huntsville Named Headquarters of U.S. Space Command

U.S. Space Command headquarters will be based at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, the Air Force announced today.

“The Department of the Air Force conducted both virtual and on-site visits to assess which of six candidate locations would be best suited to host the U.S. Space Command Headquarters based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and costs to the Department of Defense,” a statement from the Air Force Public Affairs Office said. “Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs.

“Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.”

The decision was made by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett. Gov. Kay Ivey was informed today of the selection by Bob Moriarity, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for installations.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command,” Ivey said in a statement. “Our state has long provided exceptional support for our military and their families as well as a rich and storied history when it comes to space exploration.”

Mayor Tommy Battle credited U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby for leading the way for Huntsville.

“The City of Huntsville is honored that Redstone Arsenal has been named as the site for the United States Space Command,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “We are grateful to Sen. Richard Shelby for his confidence in Huntsville. Senator Shelby has been front and center of this space effort from its inception.

“As one of our nation’s strongest defense advocates and most knowledgeable leaders in defense matters, Sen. Shelby recognized the value of a program that would focus on space assets and threats. It is his vision to protect our country in space with a dedicated command.”

Ivey agreed, saying multiple agencies working together show the strength and diversity of Huntsville’s work force.

“This combination only enhances the outstanding relationships we have with the 65 diverse federal agencies on Redstone Arsenal, not to mention the growing presence of the FBI and other federal installations,” Ivey said. “The bottom line is simple: the Redstone Region is the most natural choice to become home to such an important mission for our country.”

Other sites under consideration were Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Offutt AFB in Nebraska, Patrick AFB in Florida, Peterson AFB in Colorado and Port San Antonio in Texas.

This is the second significant federal command to be located in Huntsville, with the Space Command joining the FBI at Redstone Arsenal.

Championed the last four years by Shelby, chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, the FBI facility would be a “Headquarters 2” for the agency. Efforts to build a new D.C.-based headquarters failed, leading Shelby to push Congress for appropriations totaling more than $1.1 billion the last three years to facilitate the move.

“This is outstanding news, not only for our state but also for the Air Force,” Shelby said in a statement. “This long-awaited decision by the Air Force is a true testament to all that Alabama has to offer. Huntsville is the right pick for a host of reasons – our skilled workforce, proximity to supporting space entities, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life, among other things.

“I am thrilled that the Air Force has chosen Redstone and look forward to the vast economic impact this will have on Alabama and the benefits this will bring to the Air Force.”

The Redstone Regional Alliance and the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce released a joint statement commending the selection.

“We are confident that the Air Force has made the correct decision to base the Space Command Headquarters at Redstone Arsenal,” the statement said. “The Redstone site offers the Department of Defense the lowest cost option with superior regional capabilities, capacity and quality of life. We look forward to working with Space Command to make this transition as seamless as possible.

“Our region has successfully executed similar moves on several previous occasions and that experience will greatly inform our efforts. We greatly appreciate the support that Sen. Shelby and his staff have provided as well as the efforts of the state and regional team members who have provided their critical support.”

Battle said the Air Force site-selection team “was meticulous in its review and assessment of potential sites, and they put us through the paces in their research these past two years. We will make you proud of your decision.

“The site selection team recognized what we know to be true — Huntsville is a natural choice. We are space. We do space. From the Redstone Arsenal installation to the Space and Missile defense assets that are here, Huntsville has been the leader in all thing space since day one. From the 1950s when Explorer I went into space to the birthplace of NASA, space is in our DNA. We have built the space infrastructure and technical expertise to lead this effort.

“The site team learned about the Redstone region’s proven track record in relocating military commands to our community. Army Aviation moved here in 1995 and Army Materiel Command moved here in 2011. Our low cost of living and doing business means the country’s tax paying dollar will stretch much farther, providing more valuable resources for our space effort and warfighter.

“We look forward to the partnership with U.S. Space Command and pledge to make them a success from day one.”

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said the strength of the regional partnership was a key to the decision.

“Once again, the selection of Redstone Arsenal for US Space Command demonstrates what regional partnerships can do when we collectively work together to reach our goals,” he said. “I congratulate all of our local, state, and federal leaders from Alabama, particularly Senator Richard Shelby for his leadership and work to bring Space Command to Alabama, along with our neighbors in Tennessee that have worked together to prove Redstone Arsenal is the true and best choice for the United States Space Command Headquarters.”

 

Huntsville Officially 1 of 6 contenders for Space Command Headquarters

What are the chances of Huntsville being selected by the Air Force to host the U.S. Space Command Headquarters? Well the odds just got a lot better.

The Redstone Region has been selected as one of six final contenders for the honor and with Huntsville and Redstone Arsenal’s distinguished space and military legacy, state and local leaders think we are in a strong position to make it happen!

The other five sites are Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado and Port San Antonio in Texas.

We are the Rocket City!

“The Redstone region provides an unparalleled workforce for the U.S. Space Command with capabilities that include missile defense, aerospace, and intelligence,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “We have the infrastructure capacity, community support, low cost of doing business and high-quality expertise to serve as the headquarters for USSPACECOM. When you analyze all the variables, Huntsville is the clear choice for this vitally important unified combatant command.”

Air Force officials have said previously it could take some six years to build the facilities necessary to house U.S. Space Command, once a location is chosen.

Redstone Arsenal already provides all the assets necessary such as military housing, health care, child care, commissary, and personnel and logistics support to assure the U.S. Space Command. 

The region boasts a well-established business, government, and community support ecosystem with a proven record of success in the space industry.

Redstone Arsenal isn’t simply a military installation. It is a federal R&D campus with more than 70 entities including NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center; the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Strategic Forces Command headquarters; the Army Materiel Command; the Program Executive Offices for Army Aviation and Missiles & Space; Foreign Military Sales; the majority of the Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency operations; and a wide portfolio of specialized R&D capabilities addressing all aspects of space, missile and missile defense endeavors.

Not to mention, the FBI will have a 4,000-agent presence at a massive campus on the arsenal. This area received a ringing endorsement from David Schlendorf, the FBI’s associate executive assistant director.

“The northern Alabama area and Redstone Arsenal, in particular, offer numerous advantages to the FBI: Secure locations to conduct investigative and administrative operations, lower overall business costs, ample opportunities to leverage existing science and technology expertise and capabilities, proximity to leading universities and colleges and a favorable quality of life for our employees,” he said in the annual Redstone Update presentation recently.

The “Redstone Region” boasts the highest per capita concentration of engineering workforce in the nation. The universities offer research resources specifically tailored to address the most challenging problems facing both our military and other technology-centric agencies. 

Huntsville’s world-class aerospace/defense cluster consists of 400 aerospace/defense companies; 80,000 employees in aerospace/defense; the nation’s second largest research park in Cummings Research Park; and more than 30 of the top 40 U.S. defense companies. 

Local governments are investing in our success, including $360 million for roads and greenways, plus fiber to the home, retail and dining growth, residential and commercial development, and strategic investments in cyber, geospatial, energy, and biotech.

Furthermore, a cohesive congressional delegation of representatives in the greater North Alabama and South Central Tennessee is well-positioned to support growth, especially on the Appropriations and Armed Services committees.

And as if we need more compelling reasons to take the mantle, we have energy costs nine percent lower than the U.S. average thanks to TVA, and state and local taxes that are 33 percent lower than the U.S. average. Overall, Huntsville’s metro is a low-cost, high-value leader in the space industry with a cost of living 6.6 percent below the U.S. average. 

Battle put it simply: “When you analyze all the variables, Huntsville is the clear choice for this vitally important unified combatant command.”

BAE’s Warrior Integration Program Called a ‘Lifesaver’

Tom Block was at a crossroads.

Front Row, Left to Right: Marine Corps Master Sgt. Andrew Desmond; Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Sean Madison; Marine Corps Staff Sgt Peter Boisvert; Army Sgt. 1st Class Pat Cornell. Back Row, Left to Right: Army Sgt. Alan Kenneally; Navy Chief Petty Officer Steve Westcott; Army Staff Sgt. Chris Chouramanis; Marine Corps Sgt. Tim Cunha; Army Sgt. Tom Block; Service Dog Csar

After leaving the Army, he was working for the Department of Homeland Security investigating child exploitation. The job gave him financial security, but he said he was covering “pretty rough material’’ and he wanted to look around.

He found what he now calls “home’’ as a member of the Warrior Integration Program (WIP), an 11-year old initiative operating within defense contractor BAE Systems. The giant defense contractor, which is currently looking to fill a WIP opening in Huntsville, opened a $50 million, 3,000-square foot campus in Cummings Research Park in September.

The WIP aids post-9/11 wounded warriors seeking jobs once they leave the military. Block, a member of the 3rd Ranger Battalion out of Fort Benning, was wounded in 2013 by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

“It’s been, honestly, a lifesaver for me,’’ said Block, who is now a subcontract administrator II for BAE. “It was a very, very hard time for me (at DHS). I was definitely looking for other options.

“I have a friend who works with Systems and he told me about WIP.’’

Alan Kenneally, a native of Ireland who emigrated to the United States in 1995, is the WIP’s program director. He was injured in an ambush while on his second tour in Iraq as an Army sergeant.

“We bring the individual on and set them up in different parts of the company,’’ he said. “Then, after maybe 12 to 15 months, they switch into a new role. There are more responsibilities, more tasks.

“We have senior leadership and managers who mentor and speak up for them and sponsor them in trying to get better opportunities. The only requirement to get into the program is honorable service and, unfortunately, have suffered some form of injury.’’

A formal education is not required for WIP applicants.

“It’s very, very accepting of individuals that have that lack of educational experience and drives home the fact that, yeah, we don’t have a degree or diploma but what we do have is years of training and experience and high stress,’’ Block said. “We have tools that can help us handle those types of situations.’’

Joe Wasley, the director of BAE’s Huntsville Business Center and the site director, said while BAE is looking to hire one person now, the goal is to have 250-275 employees within two to three years.

The current opening will be filled through the WIP.

“It would be a career in manufacturing, starting manufacturing and an opportunity to expand their career and sign on with a large international company,’’ he said. “We have 85,000 employees across the world, and we’re the fourth-largest defense contractor in the world.

“It’s a very large company with lots of opportunities to grow and expand your career here. We are really looking forward to landing a candidate for the program.’’

Applicants don’t have to live in the area but would have to relocate if hired.

“We’re looking at folks that are interested in things like manufacturing, production and what it takes to run a manufacturing operation,’’ said Bob Langell, director of Strategic Operations for the Huntsville Business Center. “There’s a lot of testing in diagnostics and working with engineers as technicians and assistance, anything along that realm of possibilities. Someone who’s interested in that kind of activity we’d be interested in talking to.’’

According to BAE External Communications’ Mark Daly, the WIP allows members to support those in combat.

“They still have a lot of friends that are out there, buddies that are still fighting,’’ Daly said. “This is one of the ways they get to continue to contribute even though they were discharged because they were injured.”

HTSI, DC Capital Form Strategic Partnership

Hill Technical Solutions has formed a strategic partnership with DC Capital Partners to enhance HTSI’s ability to expand its capabilities and customer base.

Huntsville-based HTSI is a provider of systems engineering and integration, advanced technology development, systems architecture design and analysis, and hypersonic design and testing solutions for the Missile Defense Agency, Army, Navy and Air Force.

HTSI is a two-time “Best Places to Work” employer in Huntsville and a four-time Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company.  

“This is an exciting time for HTSI as we join the DC Capital family of businesses,” Stacey Hill, HTSI’s CEO, and Brad Hill, HTSI president, said in a news release. “Our company and our employees have always been focused on our customers’ missions and our partnership with DC Capital will allow us to continue to grow and provide exceptional service to our growing list of customers across U.S. government agencies.

“This partnership will also provide our employees with more personal and professional development opportunities as we continue to expand our business and our capabilities.”

Founded in 2010, HTSI’s expertise includes engineering support to the Army mission dating back to the mid-1980s. HTSI supports the Missile Defense Agency, Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, Army CCDC Aviation and Missile Center,  Army COE (Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Centers), and the Air Force in system assessment, hypersonics, cybersecurity, information technology, modeling and simulation, and test.

“HTSI is an exceptional company with an extremely talented management team and a highly skilled and experienced eam of subject matter experts,” said Thomas J. Campbell, founder and managing partner of DC Capital. “We look forward to our partnership with Stacey and Brad Hill and their team as we all work to support our customers in the development of the next generation of defense systems. Our goal is to continue to grow the company and expand existing capabilities to provide even more advanced solutions to our customers.”

DC Capital Partners is a private equity investment firm headquartered in Alexandria, Va., focused on making control investments in middle market, U.S.-based government services and engineering and consulting services businesses. 

“DC Capital looks forward to partnering with Stacey and Brad and the HTSI management team to execute the strategic plan that we have developed and to continue the growth of HTSI that this management has begun,” said Jeffrey C. Weber, a partner at DC Capital. “HTSI plays a critical role in the defense of our country and our goal is to continue to attract world class employees who can broaden the role that HTSI plays in providing solutions to its existing customers and help the company expand to other U.S. government customers.”

Boeing Awarded $249M Modified Contract for Huntsville-Managed Missile Program

Boeing of Huntsville has been awarded a $249 million contract modification for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System.

Huntsville is the headquarters for Boeing’s Missile and Weapon Systems division and the company employs more than 3,000 people across the state. As prime contractor, Boeing designs, produces, integrates, tests and sustains all GMD components deployed across 15 time zones.

The contract modification work includes development, fielding, test, systems engineering, integration and configuration management, equipment manufacturing and refurbishment, training and operations and sustainment for the system and its support facilities. Work will be performed in Huntsville; Tucson and Chandler, Ariz.

The GMD system is the nation’s only operationally deployed missile defense program capable of defending the entire United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) against long-range ballistic missile attacks.