Indiana Defense Triangle
Indiana’s defense industry is anchored by three installations in located in southern Indiana: NSA Crane, Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.
The most important tools carried into battle by our nation's special operations fighters were designed and built at Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane (NSWC-Crane). Camp Atterbury is one of the nation’s largest and busiest centers for deploying both military members and government civilians. Both uniformed and non-uniformed personnel receive mandated, theater-specific training, before being deployed. Nestled in the forests and rolling hills of southeastern Indiana just few counties over from Crane is the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC), offering the best training in the world for low-intensity conflict, urban warfare, and complex disaster response. This “defense triangle” anchors both the I-65 and I-69 defense corridors.
Just outside the gates of NSA Crane is the WestGate where some of the nation’s top contractors have set up shop to innovate from Crane’s wealth of technology, research and testing capabilities. Just up the road is Indiana University’s world-class program in information assurance and cybersecurity, which is working closely with the researchers at NSWC Crane. Crane also brings with it access to testing capabilities at Glendora Lake, which is just south of Hulman Field, the 181st Intelligence Wing, and Indiana State University’s Unmanned Systems program.
The newly constructed I-69 runs from Evansville, home of AmeriQual the nation’s chief provider of MREs, to Crane; soon it will connect the southern part of the state to the northeast region, opening up the Ft. Wayne defense cluster. Once complete, the assets along this 300+ mile stretch of road will comprise a robust I-69 defense and energy corridor—all accessible in 6 hours or less. Along southern Indiana’s segment of I-65, is Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Camp Atterbury, Jefferson Proving Ground and the Mid America Science Park in Scottsburg.
Too boot, these two defense corridors are tied together by access to some of the only restricted airspace in the eastern part of the country.
All told, the impact of the triangle is huge. The wages and spending habits of the roughly 9,000 active soldiers, reservist, and Indiana Guardsmen that make up the staff of NSA-Crane, Camp Atterbury, and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center are just the barest and smallest part of the overall picture. These three facilities attract millions of dollars in military and DHS contracts; they attract thousands of people a month in elaborate and invaluable real world simulations; they design and test a staggering amount of never-before-seen technologies some of which are handed without strings to private enterprise to market and sell. The type of skilled work, both technical and otherwise attracts a disproportionate number of college graduates to south central Indiana, potentially changing the demographics of a swath of rural counties running from the western most edge to the Ohio River.
Combined with the research projects underway at various institutions of higher learning in the state and at facilities like NSWC-Crane, these installations have already played a crucial role in the military’s ability to transition from a 20th century R&D model which utilized an elongated seven years from design to use process. In order to ensure that new technologies were making it onto the field, the U.S. military required training facilities where both technologies and troops were present. The Defense Triangle and its affiliates provide just such an environment.