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.

 

 

Huntsville/Madison County Chamber Hosting Virtual Empowering Women in Missile Defense Panel

The face of missile defense is changing as women in the community are increasingly leading missile defense teams. In order to achieve next-generation capabilities, it is vital to maintain discussions from a variety of approaches.

On Wednesday, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is hosting a free virtual panel on “Empowering Women in Missile Defense.”

The discussion will feature female missile defense experts as they share their experiences and discuss how our community can work together to further expand the role of women in missile defense. 

Panelists are: Patti Dare, Huntsville Site Executive/Strategic Solutions Program Area Director, Raytheon Technologies; Melissa Morrison-Ellis, Program Director, Raytheon Missiles & Defense; Debra Murray, Senior Targets Program Operations Manager, Northrop Grumman; Lynn Troy, Co-Founder /CEO, Troy 7 Inc.

Liz Hurley  of WAFF-TV is the moderator. 

The discussion is 10 a.m. Wednesday. There is no cost to attend, but please register by Tuesday at www.hsvchamber.org. Registrants will be sent a Zoom link.

 

Moog Expands Huntsville Footprint with Regional Support Center

Another innovative technology company is expanding its presence in Huntsville. 

Moog – the name rhymes with vogue – has opened a regional support center at 360F Quality Circle in Cummings Research Park West.

The company cites the proximity to Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center as key to its long-term growth strategy to better support its aerospace, defense, and industrial customers. 

Martin Bobak, Moog’s vice president defense sustainment, said, “The Regional Support Center will also support growing defense sustainment activities in support of the warfighter.”

The New York-based company specializes in the design and manufacture of advanced motion control products for aerospace, defense, industrial and medical applications. 

The new facility consists of a large laboratory to support local research, development, and testing activities. It also offers abundant office space and essential collaboration space.

Huntsville native Mary Occhipinti takes on the role of Moog’s Huntsville operations’ site manager. She has supported a variety of Moog business groups for more than a decade.

“Huntsville is recognized as a thriving metropolitan area for both business and living,” she said. “With this opening, we have already doubled our local presence and plan to add additional technical positions in the days ahead.” 

For job opportunities, visit www.moog.com/careers.

Moog held a “soft opening” in late August but plans a more formal grand opening based on COVID-19 regulations.

Still Serving Veterans Announces Board Members, Officers for 2020-2021

Still Serving Veterans has announced its officers and board members for 2020-2021.

New board members are Mike Durant, Jenni Feld, Rich McAdams, Kris McGuire and Dr. David Traynor.

“Each new board member is bringing not only their knowledge of the Huntsville community, but their own unique professional experience and skill set to Still Serving Veterans … and they each have a heart for helping Veterans and their families. We are blessed to have them on our board and excited about the future of the organization,” said Still Serving Veterans CEO Paulette Risher.

The new board members collectively bring knowledge and experience in a variety of areas including engineering, medicine, project management, finance and operations and information technology.

Durant is an Army veteran and served as a special operations pilot. He is the CEO, principal owner, and board member of Pinnacle Solutions which he founded in 2008. A story of a mission he flew in Mogadishu was the basis for the film “Blackhawk Down.” He is the author of “In the Company of Heroes” and “The Night Stalkers.”

Feld, is the Director of Finance and Operations at Trideum Corp.

Traynor was an Army combat medic and practices internal medicine at Gleneagles Family Medicine.

McAdams is an Army veteran and graduate of U.S. Military Academy. He is president of Ignite, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business.

McGuire is an Air Force veteran and founder and CEO of Victory Solutions.

Along with Durant, Feld, McAdams, McGuire and Traynor, other board members are: Chairman John T. Wright; Secretary Barbara Norris; Treasurer Chris Kern; ex-officio Member  Paulette Risher; co-founder/Director Emeritus Will Webb; Trip Ferguson; Jerry Gabig; Dan Godwin; Joni Green; Hank Isenberg; and Kristen Strickland

Army Intercept Targets Using Northrop Grumman Technology Developed in Huntsville

When Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy visited Huntsville a few weeks ago, it was not to chop watercress.

One of his stops was to thank Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville team for its success in developing the Integrated Battle Command System, a weapons system that will give U.S. troops a technological advantage over the enemy, anywhere in the world.

“It’s not a question of whether or not we might get there,” he told more than 500 Northrup Grumman employees at IBCS manufacturing headquarters in Huntsville. “We have to get there.”

And get there they did – twice in fact over the past couple of weeks with two successful flight tests of the ICBS system.

Northrop Grumman developed IBCS with the Army as cornerstone of its integrated air and missile defense modernization program.

Primarily a Huntsville program, more than 500 of Northrop Grumman’s approximately 2,000 employees in the Huntsville area are involved in IBCS work, including Agile software development; the system’s overall design; and program management and foreign military sales. They also manufacture hardware at the Wall Triana facility, including the Engagement Operations Centers and Integrated Fire Control Network relays.

Furthermore, the Army’s IAMD Program office is at Redstone Arsenal.

Troops prepare for test to intercept incoming cruise and tactical ballistic missiles. (Photo/Northrop Grumman)

The first of two planned operational IBCS flight tests, both were conducted at White Sands Missile Range by the Army 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

Both were also part of the IBCS Limited User Test which is several tests simulating realistic battle operations and place performance stresses on the systems.

The first test’s defense included an Air and Missile Defense task force including two battery and one battalion engagement operations centers; two Patriot and Sentinel radars; and three Patriot Advanced Capability 3  launchers connected at the component level to the IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network.

The test began when two “enemy” cruise missile were launched and flew at a low altitude through a mountain range. IBCS fused real-time data from all sensors into a single, accurate composite track for each threat.

In response, two PAC-3 missiles controlled by IBCS were launched and intercepted the cruise missiles.

IBCS sensors extend the battle area, engage threats providing 360-degree protection, increasessurvivability by enabling early detection and continuous tracking, and deliver the capabilities to defeat an increasingly complex threat.

“We are extremely pleased with how IBCS performed during this flight test,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. “We have been working on an extraordinary command and control system in partnership with the Army, and our goals are the same – to get this capability into the hands of the warfighter as soon as possible.”

IBCS tracked and engaged incoming cruise and tactical ballistic missiles during test. (Photo/Northrop Grumman)

The second IBCS test a few days later intercepted a high-performance, high-speed tactical ballistic missile ) target and a cruise missile target. It demonstrated the system’s ability to acquire, track, identify and engage diverse targets from various locations, speeds and altitudes.

Their defense consisted of two battery and one battalion IBCS engagement operations centers, two Patriot and two Sentinel radars, and four launchers with a mixture of PAC-2, PAC-3 and interceptors connected to the IBCS fire control network.

“I would like to recognize how exceptionally proud I am of the soldiers of the 3-43 ADA Battalion,” said Maj. Gen. Rob Rasch, Army Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. “This formation’s laser focus and steadfast dedication, starting with New Equipment Training last year through this LUT live fire, will ultimately transform the Air and Missile Defense fight for our joint formations.

“It’s been amazing to watch our soldiers’ ability to successfully track, engage, and destroy multiple targets in a highly-complex live fire operational test, further demonstrating the IAMD’s game-changing technological advantage. As we continue to fine-tune system performance in order to fully demonstrate system requirements in the Initial Operational Test & Evaluation in Fiscal Year 2022, we maintain high confidence for success due to the great leaders and soldiers of the 3-43, who will ultimately become the first-ever IBCS-enabled battalion.”

The flight test commenced with the target missiles being launched from different areas toward the Army defenders at the controls of IBCS. The tactical missile traveled on a ballistic trajectory, while the cruise missile surrogate flew a low-altitude course. Using data from the multiple radars and ICBS, the soldiers launched a PAC-2 to intercept the cruise missile and a PAC-3 to intercept the ballistic missile. Both targets were intercepted.

“These two back-to-back successful test events are a testament to the commitment and partnership between the great men and women of the Army’s operational and acquisition communities and Northrop Grumman’s program team,” said Todorov. “We are committed to the mission of the Army and look forward to continuing that partnership in getting the game-changing IBCS capability into production and fielded.”

Northrop Grumman employs a workforce of 90,000 worldwide.

STRATCOM Commander: No Time for Delay to Modernize

 The commander of the United States Strategic Command stressed that time is of the essence in modernizing U.S. defense capabilities.

Adm. Charles Richard highlighted the nation’s preparedness in the most recent session of the Tennessee Valley Corridor Virtual Summit Series.

Some 400 government, industry, and education professionals from across the Tennessee Valley Corridor attended the session which focused on America’s new national security challenges, highlighting the role the Tennessee Valley plays in defending against cyber, nuclear, and other combatant threats.

In his keynote address, Richard, a Decatur native, described how the post-Cold War strategies of the past few decades are no longer sufficient in this changing world. He also drew attention to the deteriorating materiel across all branches of the military, as the federal government is now working alongside industry partners to rapidly address these modernization needs.

“I – and we – must have the capabilities necessary to deliver a decisive response and do it with a combat ready force,” said Richard. “Looking forward, there is no margin left for delay with our recapitalization and modernization timelines.”

The session also included an overview of current threats to our nation’s security from Sean Williams, president/CEO of Protection Strategies Inc. PSI is an East Tennessee-based firm engaged in contract security services nationally and internationally.

Ted Sherry, Vice President of CNS (operator of the Texas-based Pantex Plant and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.), led a discussion on how regional partners are working to meet these security challenges. Panelists included: Blake Scott, Director of Lithium Transformation at Y-12; John Stewart, President of Nuclear Fuel Services; Dr. Skip Bartol, Associate Dean of Research at Auburn University; and Jason Coker, Vice Director at U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Complex.

View the full session of the TVC Virtual Summit Series on the TVC YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uecxhKKIlhM.

The next virtual session is noon (Central) Thursday when Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn will deliver the keynote as a panel discusses workforce development challenges in the TVC. Visit TennValleyCorridor.org.

 

Davidson Receives Gold Boeing Performance Excellence Award

Davidson has received a 2019 Boeing Performance Excellence Award.

The Boeing Co. issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. Davidson maintained a Gold composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period, from October 2018 to September 2019. This year, Davidson is one of only 62 suppliers to receive a Gold level Boeing Performance Excellence Award.

“To be selected as a Gold supplier for Boeing is quite an honor,” said Davidson President John Holly. “We take great pride in the quality of our performance and the criticality of the mission. We are truly honored by this recognition.”

Davidson has received the honor every year since 2009 as the company continues its relationship with Boeing in Huntsville. Performance excellence is fundamental to the success of both companies and Davidson is dedicated to meeting the high-performance standards necessary to meet customer expectations and remain competitive in the global economy.  

“For over 21 years Davidson has had the honor of serving The Boeing Company on the GMD Program as one of our most important customers,” said Joey Leary, senior vice president Eastern Operations, Davidson. “We are honored and grateful to accept this award and look forward to doing our best to continue to support this vital national defense mission.”