February 9, 2018

ICYMI: Young Op-Ed: Indiana’s Crane Vital to Nation’s Nuclear Modernization

Washington D.C. – In an op-ed in this week’s Evansville Courier & PressU.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) highlighted his recent visit to Naval Support Activity Crane with General David Goldfein. Senator Young, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, invited General Goldfein, Air Force Chief of Staff, to Crane to discuss the need for modernization of our nation’s nuclear triad, and the vital role of Hoosiers in this effort.

Courier & Press

Commentary: Military modernization needed, will require significant investment

By: Senator Todd Young

February 7, 2018

Many know that the Hoosiers at Naval Support Activity Crane provide world-class support to the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army that is essential to our national security.  What fewer may realize is that Crane also provides increasingly vital support to the Air Force — and can do even more in the future. 

Crane’s growing support for the Air Force is not only important for our national security, but it is also good for Indiana and for taxpayers.

Crane has actually been supporting the Air Force for more than 35 years. In fact, Crane provides more support to the Air Force than any other Naval Sea Systems Command Warfighting Center in the nation. 

That fact was on full display on Jan. 8 during a visit by the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein, to Crane.

Early last year, to reinforce Crane’s efforts to provide even greater support for the Air Force, I invited Goldfein to visit. Sen. Joe Donnelly, Rep. Trey Hollingsworth and I were honored to help host the Air Force’s top military officer for a visit last month.

During the visit, Goldfein attended a stakeholder lunch that showcased Indiana’s emphasis on innovation and broad-based support for Crane. Leaders from Indiana University, Purdue University, and Notre Dame attended, demonstrating Crane’s strong partnership with leading universities. 

He learned about Crane Army Ammunition Activity’s support to the Department of Defense. He also received briefings on Crane’s work related to expeditionary warfare, spectrum warfare, and our nation’s strategic deterrent — with an important focus on Crane’s cutting-edge work related to high-reliability radiation hardening and trusted microelectronics.

In each of these areas, Crane’s experts explained what they are currently doing for the Air Force and what more they could do in the future to support our nation’s airmen.

One of the most promising areas of increased cooperation between the Air Force and Navy relates to our nuclear deterrent.

Our nation maintains a nuclear triad in order to protect Americans and deter nuclear attack from countries such as Russia, China and North Korea. The Navy is responsible for the sea leg of our triad, and the Air Force is responsible for the air and land-based legs of the triad. While each of these legs are different, there are commonalities between them and opportunities for combining efforts to create efficiencies and save tax dollars.

For America’s nuclear deterrent to be effective, each of those legs must be modern, credible, secure, and reliable. Yet, all three legs of our triad — as well as the associated command and control system — require modernization in the coming years.

That will come with a necessary but significant cost. 

Given the growing threats we confront, as well as the strained defense budget, that means we must look for every opportunity to achieve “smart commonality” between the Air Force and Navy in the sustainment and modernization of our nuclear triad — without sacrificing capability.

That’s why Crane’s efforts to do more for the Air Force are so important. That’s also why I included a provision in the Senate-passed annual defense bill encouraging this cooperation between the Navy and Air Force when it comes to modernizing our nuclear triad. I’m pleased that the final defense bill report included my language encouraging this inter-service cooperation.   

In short, Goldfein’s visit to Crane was a tremendous success.

Goldfein, like Marine Corps Comdt. Gen. Neller before him, was impressed with Crane and left with a greater appreciation for how the Hoosiers at Crane play an indispensable role in our national security and can play an even more important role going forward.

As Goldfein said, “The work being done at Crane is absolutely essential. To the men and women at Crane, I just want to say thank you for the incredible work you’re doing.”

I look forward to building on this visit and continuing to do whatever I can to support Crane, its skilled workers, and their vital contributions to our national security.