Symposium stresses importance of military-business relationship - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Symposium stresses importance of military-business relationship

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Experts looked for ways contractors and military installations can partner up on new projects. Experts looked for ways contractors and military installations can partner up on new projects.

Military and business leaders alike callAmerica's military institutions, like Redstone Arsenal and the Anniston ArmyDepot, "national treasures." They are called important resources that protectAmerica, but that are now threatened by military drawdowns, downsizing, orperhaps even more BRACs.

At the Association of the US Army's WinterSymposium, experts looked for ways contractors and installations can partner upon new projects – not necessarily military ones – to keep their facilitiesgoing for the future.

"We're not fighting two wars anymore, so do wehave capacity that we need to maintain? Workload is drawing down. Do we need toright-size? Probably," said Mark Morrison of Redstone Materiel Command. "But we'vealso got to maintain the capability to support the current fight and thinkabout the next."

"If we don't preserve our small businessesthrough this downturn and economic decline, then when we're ready to go to war,we wouldn't have anybody," added Nancy Small, Director of the AMC SmallBusiness Office.

Leaders from Redstone Army Materiel Commandsaid projects like vehicle engines, protective clothes, even batteries canprovide business opportunities, especially for smaller businesses, so if, whenthe time comes, they are still ready.

"It is actually critical that we keep ourmanufacturing capability up because they are the ones that really support thewar when it's time to go," said Small.

"We know that the dollars are coming down, wesee the handwriting on the wall," said Morrison. "So to maintain thatcapability that we want to have, we need the partnerships so we don't losethose national treasures."

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