In 2011, eight Indiana universities were awarded 132 military contracts totaling over $18 million dollars, nearly $8 million of this total went to Purdue alone. According to Duane Embree, the Director of Military Defense Initiatives at Ivy Tech, research and development projects between military groups and universities throughout the state are vital for the further evolution of military systems. He states, “Research partnerships between Crane and universities such as Rose-Hulman on critical components and technologies such as wideband optically multiplexed arrays are important to meeting our war-fighting requirements.”
Of course winning DoD, DHS and, to a lesser extent, NASA contracts is a high profile way of participating in Indiana’s defense industry, but it is not the only way. Several Indiana institutes of higher learning host ROTC programs (20 statewide); several are involved as partners with military facilities helping operate unmanned vehicle test programs. Some universities are going above and beyond to make Reserve soldiers and veterans feel welcome and helping guarantee their academic success. All of Indiana’s universities are providing educational and training opportunities critical to our defense and security missions, whether that means STEM-based education for future technicians and engineers or language and cultural competencies for future soldiers, intelligence officers, and analysts.
Access to so many universities all over the state is just one component in Indiana winning quality of life awards year after year. Quality life issues are important for both businesses and government when they think of starting new branches and missions. Many soldiers stationed around the state, just as those businessmen and women who are transferred here, come here with their families or the prospect of one. Each of them wants to know that their new home offers a healthy and safe present, as well as the potential for a prosperous future. And Indiana has a lot to offer.