County receives Defense Reinvestment and Infrastructure grants

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that National Center for Simulation, on behalf of Orange County, was awarded $285,000 through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Programs. The funding will work to sustain Naval Support Activity Orlando and its missions.

Governor Scott said, “This $285,000 investment will help ensure that operations in the central part of our state continue to function at the highest level possible and that our military families are kept safe and secure. These investments are critical to protecting and sustaining Florida’s military installations, and we cannot thank our military men and women enough, veterans and military families for their sacrifices and service.”

For more than 15 years the defense grants have been successful tools in assisting local defense partners in supporting the State’s military installations. Florida’s military and defense sector is responsible for 9.4 percent – or $73.4 billion – of the Sunshine State’s economy. This translates to 758,112 statewide direct and indirect jobs.

Orange County was one of twelve counties to receive a Defense Reinvestment Grant, which is designed to support relationships between military installations and their community. The $85,000 will help to protect Florida’s military installations, as well as promote economic diversification strategies in defense dependent communities.

The Defense Infrastructure Grant is awarded to local projects deemed to have a positive impact on the military value of the installation in addition to benefiting the community. Orange County was awarded $200,000 for the purpose of updating the Federal, State, and University Network.

Senator Andy Gardiner, (President-Designate) said, “Florida’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grants provide resources needed to support, build and grow military communities across Florida. The Florida Legislature and Governor Scott are committed to enhancing the strength of our military community in Orange County. This critical funding will help link veterans separating from the military with good jobs in the private market to ensure Florida does not lose the valuable skills our military veterans have to offer.”

Senator Alan Hays said, “Orange County was fortunate to be awarded a $200,000 Defense Infrastructure Grant to further develop and modernize the Federal, State, and University Network. This will benefit the military, academia, and industry, which will work to sustain Naval Support Activity Orlando. It is our privilege to enjoy partnering with the defense community in our efforts to develop and implement better training aids for our personnel.”

Senator Kelli Stargel said, “During the 2014 Legislative Session, the legislature placed a high priority in recognizing how important our military installations are around the state not just in serving as our national defense, but they also play a vital role in our economy. As a mother of two daughters who have served in the military, I understand the importance of providing resources for our military and the communities who support them. By funding The Defense Grants Program, Florida is giving back to those who serve our state and our nation. I am grateful for the $85,000 awarded to Orange County to support growth and diversification of the Team Orlando Partnership in modeling, simulation and training project.”

Representative Bryan Nelson said, “Naval Support Activity Orlando is home to a multi-service modeling, simulation, training and acquisition center that accounts for a $6 billion economic impact in Orange County. I am grateful that the State has continued to support our community, the installation, and the defense industry by awarding us $285,000 through two grant programs.”

Representative Tom Goodson said, “I want to thank Governor Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the importance of Florida’s military communities. This funding is vital to continuing our grant programs and supporting our soldiers.”

“The Florida Defense Grants Programs are vital for our military and defense industry, and strengthen Florida’s workforce through the highly skilled former military personnel who enter the employment market each year. I am proud to play a part in supporting our military installations and communities, and appreciate what our service men and women do to protect our state,” said Gray Swoope, Florida Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida.

A combined $2,450,000 was awarded to 14 communities in the state, helping to protect and improve 19 installations, and furthering Florida’s reputation as the most military friendly state in the nation.

Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas L. Baptiste, President/CEO of the National Center for Simulation (NCS) said, “NCS appreciates the continued support from Governor Scott and Enterprise Florida to help us promote the Florida Simulation Industry that generates on average nearly $5 billion in Gross State Product each year. Funding from this grant will help us with business development efforts, STEM initiatives to grow the high tech workforce of the future and with efforts to transfer proven simulation technology to other sectors of the U.S economy beyond defense.”

Lt. Gen. Baptiste continued, “NCS appreciates the continued support from Governor Scott and Enterprise Florida to enhance the collaborative environment within the Central Florida Research Park. Funding from this grant will allow us to complete equipment upgrades necessary to meet the expanding Information Assurance/Cyber Security standards of the Federal, State, and University (FedSUN) Network. A project initiated over a decade ago, FedSUN supports the collaborative efforts of military, other government agencies, academia, and industry teams spread across the Research Park to work shared projects across a trusted network.”

The 2014-15 Defense Grants were awarded to defense partners in the following counties: Polk, Brevard (2), Duval (2), Santa Rosa (2), Okaloosa (2), Clay (2), Pinellas, Escambia (2), Orange (2), Bay (2), Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Walton and Highlands.

The Florida Defense Grants Programs are administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. The grants are awarded annually through a competitive process to communities hosting military installations.


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