Lieutenant Governor works to bring defense jobs to Indiana

2013-03-04T13:59:00Z Lieutenant Governor works to bring defense jobs to IndianaBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann is not letting the federal budget sequester, which will slice $492 billion from defense spending over the next 10 years, ruin her plans to lure defense companies to the state through the new Indiana Office of Defense Development.

"Our administration's vision for Indiana involves a continual push for jobs and new opportunities for Hoosiers," Ellspermann said. "Our goal with IODD is a focus on economic development to grow defense industry business in Indiana and to create new jobs."

On Monday, Ellspermann appointed Duane Embree, a former executive at the Crane, Ind., Naval Surface Warfare Center, to head the new defense development office, which will be based in Bloomington.

He is tasked with with growing the $4 billion spent annually on defense contracts with Indiana companies. The office has already signed an agreement with Crane, the third-largest naval base in the world in terms of area, according to Ellspermann, and workplace for more than 6,000 Hoosiers, to use the base's assets to attract other defense companies to the state.

Embree said the sequester's forced cuts make it more important than ever that the federal government get the biggest bang for its defense buck, and there's no place better to do that than Indiana.

"I think Indiana is a bargain for the defense of our nation," Embree said. "We have a ready workforce capable of doing the work and we've got a cost that is significantly lower than many other places where that work is currently done."

Ellspermann agreed Indiana is "cost-effective and a good value for the federal government" and produces an outstanding return on investment.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who voted for the sequester cuts as a congressman in 2011, established the Indiana Office of Defense Development via executive order on his first day in office, Jan. 14.

Senate Bill 529, sponsored by state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, and state Rep. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, would make the office permanent.

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