State officials say they want to triple federal defense investment in the state by 2025, making Indiana’s aerospace industry more competitive in the United States.
Right now, the Hoosier State falls in the middle of the pack on the number of companies receiving Department of Defense contracts and the amount of money awarded in those contracts.
Aaron Pierce runs an aerospace company that develops technology for drones. He says at times demand has pulled his business to relocate to the coasts. But he says Indiana gives him an advantage to research and further develop products.
“We have difficult conversations with people who want us to exit but don’t see the value necessarily yet of why we want to stay here,” says Pierce.
DOD contracts with Indiana companies have declined the past 10 years, and state officials say they are working to turn that around.
Speaking at the inaugural Indiana Defense Summit Friday, Defense Department Chief Management Officer Lisa Hershman says Indiana is a critical link for the country’s national defense.
“Indiana is not only the leading manufacturing state in the nation, it’s also the home to cutting edge technology,” says Hershman. “Providing our military with the necessary tools and technology to sustain our tactical advantage over threats from around the globe.”
Last year, Indiana companies contracted more than $4.5 billion in defense commitments.