News

Research Triangle Region and North Carolina Mobilize to Expand Defense Cluster


Research Triangle Region, N.C. (September 19, 2011) – Research Triangle Region economic developers and companies are teaming with colleagues across the state to position North Carolina as the destination for defense-related investment.

The upcoming Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) 2011 national conference and expo Oct. 10-12 in Washington, D.C. will provide a glimpse of their fire power as more than a dozen companies plus key defense industry support organizations will be out in force to make sure the industry knows what the region and state can offer them.

“Our proximity to the largest U.S. Army installation in the world and our concentration of knowledge assets, talent and existing companies make us an ideal location for companies that support the defense industry,” says Charles A. Hayes, president and CEO of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP), which leads economic development for the 13-county Research Triangle Region.

“We want to make sure the industry knows this when they make their future business investments and location decisions,” Hayes said.

Wake County Economic Development is coordinating the effort to host the North Carolina Pavilion at AUSA. North Carolina will be the only state to host its own pavilion. More than a dozen N.C. defense companies have invested $5,000 each to make this strong showing.

The pavilion will showcase the extensive array of resources across the state available to support defense companies. A North Carolina Reception hosted on Oct. 10 will help the state’s delegation network with defense companies and expand connections with U.S. Army decision makers as well as the companies that service and supply the military, site selection consultants who help those companies make location decisions and the media who cover the sector.

Meanwhile, partners across the region and state are taking their collaboration to a new strategic level through the newly formed N.C. Defense Council for Economic Development. Gov. Bev Purdue, who a decade ago rallied state leaders to pursue defense business development in the face of Base Closure and Realignment while she served as lieutenant governor, now has formed this new alliance to accelerate that effort. The council is believed to be the first statewide alliance in the country formed to promote the growth of a defense cluster.

The breadth of organizations coming together in that alliance offers telling evidence of the strength and depth of assets the region and North Carolina bring to this cluster. Joining the Governor’s Office are the N.C. Department of Commerce, University of North Carolina system, N.C. Community College System, state economic development partnerships, including RTRP, and the state’s Small Business and Technology Development Center.

It also includes the impressive array of organizations that have formed in recent years specifically to promote defense business development and provide sector support -- the N.C. Defense Business Association, Military Business Center, N.C. Military Foundation, Fort Bragg Regional Alliance, Partnership for Defense Innovation, Defense & Security Technology Accelerator and Institute for Defense & Business.

And, of course, there are the companies – scores of defense-related businesses that are driving growth in this sector, including those supporting the AUSA pavilion in October: ABB, BRS Defense, BSCI, CC Intelligent Solutions Inc., Combat Medical Systems, Corvid Technologies, IEM, MSI Defense Solutions, PowerAnalytics, Roush Yates, TigerSwan Inc. and Williams Software.

The Research Triangle Region’s niche is in defense technologies. It’s a natural outgrowth of its world-renowned R&D assets and close proximity to the state’s many defense installations.

North Carolina boasts the fourth-largest military presence in the nation, with seven military installations and 14 U.S. Coast Guard facilities. Fort Bragg, the largest U.S. Army installation in the world, is now home to the U.S. Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command. Pope Air Force Base, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point are all a short drive away.

The region’s technology assets and unique combination of clusters enable advances in key areas of opportunity for defense technology-related business growth, particularly biological agents and infectious diseases, pervasive computing, and interactive gaming and e-learning. Combined, they support innovation that helps the U.S. military combat terrorism and secure the nation from 21st-century threats.

The region also offers focused research centers that support innovation in defense systems and homeland security. The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, for instance, funds research and programs that advance understanding of terrorism and how to best combat it. The Center of Excellence in Logistics and Technology teaches military logisticians to use the latest technologies to manage defense operations on a global scale.

Added to that is talent, including an army of former military retirees and service people who remain in the region after retiring or leaving military service. They provide a wealth of specialized knowledge and skills that local defense employers find invaluable.

For more information on the Research Triangle Region’s defense cluster, visit http://www.researchtriangle.org/clusters/defense-technologies/ or contact Lee Anne Nance, RTRP senior vice president for strategic initiatives, at (919) 840-7372, ext 15 or lnance@researchtriangle.org.

The Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) leads economic development for the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina, home of The Research Triangle Park (RTP) and the 13 north-central N.C. counties of Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren. For more information, visit www.researchtriangle.org or call (919) 840-7372.

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Contact: Lee Anne Nance, (919) 840-7372, ext 15