For a variety of reasons both strategic and economic, many companies face difficult decisions around relocating their current operations or beginning new business ventures. The Foundation gives North Carolina a strong competitive advantage against other states vying for these opportunities by coordinating the efforts of our top state leaders, industry partners, academia and regional developers in order to support a company’s requirements and exceed their expectations for success. Below are three examples of companies who chose to establish a presence in North Carolina due to the Foundation’s leadership. Collectively, these projects will add over 600 jobs to the state.
Meeting the Needs of the Military through Innovation
North Carolina’s world-class motorsports industry is uniquely positioned to meet the military’s existing and emerging requirements. As the market demands for new vehicle systems declines – in parallel with a motorsports industry interest in diversifying their revenue – there will be greater opportunities to modify and recapitalize existing military vehicles.
In just under two years, the Foundation established relationships between the state’s motorsports industry and the military, creating business opportunities for the motorsports industry to increase the size and scope of their support of the military. The work has particularly focused on supporting the requirements of the U.S. Marine Corps and the unique needs of the U.S. Special Forces community.
This relationship was first formalized in 2012 by a Memorandum of Agreement between the NC Motorsports Industry and US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), which allows the nation’s most respected motorsports companies and the world’s premier special operations force to mutually benefit through shared capabilities, knowledge, requirements, expertise and training specific to vehicle performance. This agreement was made possible by the tireless efforts of the Foundation, the N.C. Department of Commerce, the N.C. Motorsports Advisory Council, and USASOC Mobility.
Institute for Homeland Security Solutions
When the Foundation was created in 2006, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was increasing its capacity to conduct research in the Human Factors technology area, a particular strength for North Carolina’s universities. In fact, by 2007, it was increasingly evident that DHS needed better answers in its effort to counter terrorists’ evolving tactics and that North Carolina had a strong capacity to produce those answers.
Working with U.S. Representative David Price and researchers at RTI International, Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill, the Foundation spearheaded efforts to create a new institute to conduct a wide range of social science and policy-related research to strengthen homeland security. On September 8, 2008, the Foundation joined Rep. Price, Governor Bev Perdue and U.S. Undersecretary of Homeland Security Jay Cohen to announce the Institute for Homeland Security Solutions (IHSS):
“This new institute will help make the Research Triangle and North Carolina a national leader in homeland security applied research." – U.S. Representative David Price
When the 2009 Defense Cluster Analysis revealed that North Carolina was well positioned to enter the emerging market for unmanned systems, the Foundation sprang into action. Consultations with industry experts and military leaders quickly confirmed a remarkably strong growth potential in unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and the Foundation went to work establishing a clear path forward to develop this industry in North Carolina.
After gaining the support of national, state, and local leaders; the Foundation brought together key stakeholders to construct a strategy that would ultimately develop a full life-cycle support infrastructure for unmanned aerial systems in North Carolina. Essential to this effort was the hiring of an experienced expert to establish a UAS research capacity within the university system and coordinate all UAS activities within the state.
Now more than two years into the effort, this loose consortium of industry, academia, and government partners constitutes a robust development team pushing the North Carolina's UAS Initiative forward. Its diverse composition makes the team uniquely responsive to the needs of its stakeholders and to shifts in the trajectory of this growing industry. This is best exemplified by the development of airspace at three locations across the state for partners to conduct UAS research, development, testing, & evaluation.
North Carolina’s UAS initiative is moving at full steam with the complete support of industry, government, academia, and the military. As a result of the Foundation’s early coordination and the tireless efforts of the entire UAS development team, North Carolina will have a significant stake in an industry estimated to be worth $89 billion over the next 10 years.
Landing the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter
The U.S. Marine Corps had a very difficult decision to make regarding where to base its new F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft in North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as how many to commit to each state; And with the Marine Corps planning to eventually replace their existing fleets of F-18 A/C/D Hornets, AV-8B Harriers, and the EA-6B Prowler with this fifth generation aircraft, the gravity of this decision was unmistakable.
"Be prepared and be proactive," the Foundation's mode of operation, was fully evident during the state's campaign to secure the maximum amount of JSF operations at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
The Foundation successfully advocated for the commissioning of a study that would provide an honest assessment of North Carolina's strengths & weaknesses in hosting these F-35B, as well as an estimation of the economic impact that these aircraft would have on the state. With this information in hand, the Foundation worked with North Carolina's national, state, and local leaders to highlight the strengths of the state and help resolve key concerns of the Marine Corps and the community.
Upon notice of the Department of the Navy's Record of Decision to bring eight F-35 B squadrons to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan issued the following statement:
"Over the past year, I have been leading an effort with the Governor's office, NC’s Commerce Secretary, and the North Carolina Military Foundation to ensure North Carolina was selected to host and base the Marine Corps Joint Strike Fighter," said Hagan. "...This decision supports tremendous job growth and economic development in our state -- up to 128 planes and as many as 1,194 additional military personnel are headed for Cherry Point."
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point received its first F-35B JSF on July 9, 2013. Upon receiving the aircraft, LtGen Robert E. Schmidle, Jr., Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation, stated:
"We now have an aircraft that can do full regional operations all of the time. This is the future of tactical aircraft in the Marine Corps, and we are just delighted that it will be here at Cherry Point."
The Joint Strike Fighter will be an economic engine in the area for years to come. MCAS Cherry Point plans to receive its first of six planned JSF squadrons over the next 10 years and infrastructure expansions at the base are already being planned to accommodate the incoming aircraft.
The Foundation's efforts to strengthen ties between state leaders and the highest echelons of military and industry leadership are producing results.
Nowhere is this more visible that at the AUSA Annual Meeting in Washington DC, where the Foundation leads an annual delegation of state leaders that has included two Governors, four Cabinet Secretaries, one Lt. Governor, and a wide range of other key advisors. Escorted by the Foundation's GEN Buck Kernan (US Army retired), these officials have conveyed North Carolina’s strong commitment to supporting our nation’s military in meetings with key military leaders, including: the Secretary of the Army, Chief of Staff of the Army, Commander of US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), Commander of Army Materiel Command (AMC), and Commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), among others.
"North Carolina's military bases and units are essential to the Army's mission readiness and national security," said General Raymond Odierno, Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 2013. "Governor McCrory's attendance at AUSA's annual meeting demonstrates North Carolina's outstanding support for our Soldiers, Families and Army Civilians."
These meetings, and other like them, give North Carolina's key leaders the opportunity to learn how the state can best support military readiness, identify emerging opportunities for growth in North Carolina's defense infrastructure, and lay the groundwork for future collaborations and partnerships.
The North Carolina Military Foundation continues to make intelligent partnerships between state, industry, and military that highlight North Carolina’s competitive advantage and supports long-term investment and job creation.
In 2009, the Foundation observed that although North Carolina's growing military footprint and excellent University System offered tremendous opportunities for collaboration, these relationships had just not flourished. General James J. Lindsay, USA (R), a founding member of the Foundation and the first commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, thought this needed to change.
In November 2010, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, then-President Erskin Bowles (UNC) and Colonel Richard Anders, Marine Special Operations Support Group, joined the Foundation to highlight five partnerships between the University of North Carolina and the Army and Marine Corps Special Operations Commands. These partnerships augment military training, increase access to education, provide unique research opportunities, and support the Foundation's strategy to grow the state's defense economy through increased collaboration between the military, government, and academia. Since 2010, the relationship between the UNC-GA and Special Forces has expanded to include major projects in unmanned systems, cyber security, and language training. This partnership currently supports 23 funded programs.
To date, Memoranda of Agreement exist between UNC and:
- Fleet Readiness Center – East
- U.S. Army Special Operations Command
- Marine Corps Special Operations Command
- Marine Corps Installations – East
- Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command