GOVERNOR SCOTT ANNOUNCES $278,500 INVESTMENT FOR SPACE FLORIDA AND FLORIDA’S NATIONAL CENTER FOR SIMULATION

Communities receive 2014-15 Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Awards

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Space Florida and Florida’s National Center for Simulation will receive $278,500 from the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant.

 

Governor Scott said, “The more than $270,000 in Defense Support Task Force Grants will help Naval Support Activity Orlando and Space Florida to continue their mission of helping support our military men and women. With these grants our military will be able to do more to provide safety and security to Florida families.”

 

The Florida Defense Support Task Force was created in 2011 with the mission to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state’s position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, military families, military retirees and businesses that bring military and base-related jobs to the state.

 

Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Gray Swoope said, “These grants are vital to our military and defense programs, and the local economies that rely on the operation of those facilities. Because of the grants, military communities around the state are able to improve working environments for Florida’s service men and women. Florida’s military and defense sector is one of the strongest in the country because of our commitment to preserve and protect our military installations. Enterprise Florida, through its work with the Florida Defense Task Force, is committed to supporting these critical assets.”

 

“The Florida Defense Support Task Force has again been able to provide local defense communities around the state the resources to keep vital missions at Florida’s military installations. These grants will help protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military installations that generate billions of dollars for our economy as well as stable, high-paying jobs for Floridians. I applaud Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for their support of the Task Force and commitment to keeping Florida as the most military-friendly state in the nation,” said Chairman and State Representative Jimmy Patronis from Panama City.

 

BREVARD COUNTY

Space Florida was awarded a $38,500 grant to design, plan, and execute an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) component to the annual emergency response exercise at Camp Blanding. This grant will enhance the installation’s capability, and provide research and development for emergency response; thereby providing a springboard for more UAS-related activity in the state.

 

Senate President-Designate Andy Gardiner said, “This grant will help provide Space Florida the opportunity to play an important role in Camp Blanding’s annual emergency response exercise. We need to make sure Florida is prepared to respond to critical threats to our security and it is great to see Space Florida play a role in that important mission.
Senator Thad Altman said, “The Legislature and Governor Scott recognize the economic importance that our military installations have on state’s economy. We are pleased to be able to make a positive impact and continue to enhance the value Florida’s military bases.”
House Speaker-Designate Steve Crisafulli said, “I appreciate the $38,500 that was awarded to Space Florida by the Florida Defense Support Task Force. This grant award is a great example of local and state partners making a positive impact on our military installations.”

 

Representative Ritch Workman said, “Governor Scott and the Florida Defense Support Task Force should be commended for awarding this $38,500 grant to Space Florida. These grants help preserve the economic impact our military bases and families have in the state of Florida.”

 

Representative Tom Goodson said, “I applaud the Legislature for awarding this grant to Space Florida. Brevard County is thankful for what it has received from the Florida Defense Support Task Force. This funding will help improve the emergency response capability of Camp Blanding.”

 

Representative John Tobia said, “Brevard County is grateful to receive this $38,500 grant award. I am thankful to Governor Scott and our Legislature for including Space Florida in their funding.”

 

Jim Kuzma, COO for Space Florida stated, “The introduction of UAS capability to the emergency response community should occur in a controlled environment, using accepted processes, in the appropriate venue, to ensure an acceptable level of risk.

Camp Blanding is the only State of Florida owned facility with protected airspace suitable for this type of collaborative training.

 

“Airspace accessibility has hindered few, if any efforts to integrate Florida’s civil emergency response organizations with the National Guard. We see an implementation gap that will not be addressed until a suitable airspace venue for civil UAS is created. As the State agency legislatively mandated to help bring UAS activities to Florida, Space Florida along with our partners, appreciate the Task Force recognizing this shared problem and providing funding to begin addressing this challenge.”

 

ORANGE COUNTY

Florida’s National Center for Simulation will receive $240,000 through the Florida Defense Support Task Force to continue to execute a comprehensive plan to mitigate potential threats to the base from future Department of Defense (DoD) Base Realignment and Closure processes, or other service initiated base realignment activities. This grant will protect Naval Support Activity Orlando by enhancing its military value and protecting it from realignment and closure.

 

Senate President-Designate Andy Gardiner said, “This funding will help strengthen Florida’s National Center for Simulation in preparation for future review by the federal government. Keeping these important defense functions in our state is critical to Florida’s economy, so this type of prudent investment in our existing facilities and programs leads to lasting results for the state.”

 

Senator Alan Hays said, “We are excited to continue our partnership between area military installations and their host communities, and we are extremely grateful to Governor Scott, our state legislators, and the Florida Defense Support Task Force for understanding and supporting the military presence Florida. These grants underscore the commitment Florida has made to be the most military-friendly state in the country.”

 

Senator Kelli Stargel said, “Orlando has a major military presence and I am happy for the community to receive this years’ grant. This grant will help meet the training needs for the military servicemen and women. Ultimately, it will also help the communities stay up-to-speed on the necessary resources needed for military growth in Orange County. As a military mom, I am proud of this community’s dedication to serve the military families in our state.”

 

Representative Bryan Nelson said, “The Governor and the Legislature recognize the strategic and economic importance of Team Orlando. I am grateful for the $240,000 that has been awarded to our county through the Florida Defense Grants programs that will be used to support the National Simulation Center and our community.”

 

Representative Tom Goodson said, “The Governor and the Legislature recognize the strategic and economic importance of the National Simulation Center. I am grateful for the $240,000 that has been awarded to our county through the Florida Defense Grants program that will be used to support the military and our community.”

 

Retired Lieutenant General Thomas L. Baptiste, President/CEO of the National Center for Simulation said, “The Metro Orlando Defense Task Force appreciates the continued support from Governor Scott and the Florida Defense Support Task Force to help us protect, grow and enhance NSA Orlando. A 40 acre non-traditional military base, it houses the acquisition commands of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and nine other federal government organizations referred to as Team Orlando. On average these organizations release nearly $5 billion in contracts to industry annually and support a highly skilled workforce of over 27,000 statewide. This grant funding will match local contributions and allow us to mitigate the threat to NSA Orlando of realignment or closure driven by planned DoD budget cuts and the continuing impact of sequestration.”

 

The 2014-2015 Florida Defense Support Task Force grants, totaling $2.59 million, have been awarded to 13 worthy projects that serve to protect military installations across the state.

 

The Florida Defense Support Task Force grants are awarded to local community organizations which support Florida military installations. These grants will be utilized to protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military missions and installations while maintaining Florida’s reputation as the most military friendly state in the nation. Additionally, these grants will strengthen Florida’s bases ahead of any potential Department of Defense realignment or closure actions, thereby protecting more than $73.4 billion in economic impact, and more than 758,100 jobs that the defense industry supports in the state.

 

This grant program is administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. The grants are awarded annually, on a project priority basis, to organizations and communities working to protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military installations and missions, as well as improving the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, families and veterans. For more information on the Florida Defense Support Task Force, visit their website at: http://www.enterpriseflorida.com/fdstf/

 

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Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) is a partnership between Florida’s businesses and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida. EFI facilitates job growth for Florida businesses through recruitment and retention, international trade and exporting, promotion of sporting events, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses.

 

 

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