Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator Edward Markey, U.S. Representative John Tierney and U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas today welcomed General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force to the Massachusetts State House to discuss the importance of Hanscom Air Force Base to the Massachusetts economy and the state's ongoing efforts to promote and support the base.
"Our military bases offer incredible assets, fuel our economy and are an important piece of our national security," said Governor Patrick. "We appreciate General Welsh, General Wolfenbarger, General Moore, and Dr. LaPlante's visit to Massachusetts as we work in partnership with Air Force leadership to strengthen and invest in Hanscom Air Force Base while exploring opportunities to lead new innovative missions."
"It's clear to me that Massachusetts is committed to an enduring partnership with its military bases and, specifically, its Airmen," said General Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force Chief of Staff. "I'm impressed by the collaboration demonstrated by leaders of government, industry, academia and other organizations, all of whom are focused on helping the Air Force and DoD more effectively meet our national security objectives."
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 690,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. General Welsh serves as the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Air Force; and is in a separate capacity a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and thereby a military advisor to the National Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The Chief of Staff is the highest-ranking officer on active-duty in the U.S. Air Force.
Governor Patrick and General Welsh were joined by the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Dr. William LaPlante, the Commander of Air Force Materiel Command General Janet Wolfenbarger, the Commander of Air Force Materiel Command's Life Cycle Management Center Lt. General C.D. Moore, Hanscom Air Force Base leadership, members of the Governor's cabinet and state agencies, the Massachusetts National Guard, MassDevelopment, MITRE, MIT Lincoln Labs, the Advanced Cyber Security Center, and the Defense Technology Initiative.
General Welsh is in Massachusetts for a two-day visit to Hanscom and the Massachusetts State House. He was invited to Hanscom by Congresswoman Tsongas, the only member of Massachusetts' Congressional delegation serving on an Armed Services Committee.
"I invited General Welsh to visit Hanscom Air Force Base and Lincoln Labs so that he can have a firsthand view of the remarkable work being done here," said U.S. Representative Tsongas. "Massachusetts continues investing in and marshaling some of the best minds and resources in the world, which provides unmatched capabilities and benefits to our Armed Forces. Massachusetts' military installations, especially Hanscom, are developing cutting edge technologies which are helping the Air Force address some of its most pressing challenges and we stand ready to support that mission in any way we can. Our hub of innovation is helping to keep soldiers safe and successful around the world and we are grateful General Welsh was willing to take the time to see it for himself."
Governor Patrick and members of the Congressional delegation expressed the Commonwealth's commitment to Hanscom during today's meeting by highlighting the ongoing work of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, and illustrating Massachusetts' competitive business, innovation, education and workforce advantages. At the meeting, Governor Patrick outlined the work the Military Task Force has done in partnership with the base regarding workforce development, small business partnerships, energy efficiency, master planning for secure and efficient base operations, and cyber security and information technology mission enhancements.
"I'm very pleased to welcome General Welsh to Massachusetts and to discuss how we can best support the important, innovative national defense work being done at Hanscom Air Force Base and at military bases across the Commonwealth," said U.S. Senator Warren. "Hanscom's cutting-edge cybersecurity work and its efforts to build partnerships with industry and universities help strengthen our national security. We must continue to support this critical defense work and ensure that Massachusetts' military installations have the resources they need."
"Hanscom Air Force Base is the country's front line of our national defense along the East Coast. More than just a military base, the research, development and innovation being done at Hanscom helps fuel the Massachusetts economy, creating jobs and sharpening our edge in technology," said U.S. Senator Markey. "With sequestration already impacting our military bases, it is critical we protect funding for Hanscom and our other Massachusetts military bases. I will continue to fight against any misguided cuts to Hanscom, and I thank Governor Patrick and the members of the Governor's Military Task Force for their leadership and service."
"Hanscom Air Force Base performs a critical military function and is strengthened and supported by a cluster of world-class institutions and industries," said U.S. Representative Tierney. "Today, I was pleased to join with Governor Patrick, Senators Warren and Markey, and Congresswoman Tsongas in welcoming key Air Force officials to Massachusetts and discussing Hanscom's unique ability to address the Air Force's complex challenges."
Over the course of his two-day visit, General Welsh will tour Hanscom, meet with federal, state and local officials and attend various events, including MIT's Lincoln Laboratory's Veteran's Day ceremony at which he is the featured speaker. General Welsh will be briefed by top Air Force and Hanscom officials on the base's mission and as they showcase displays and demonstrations of the critical work being carried out here in Massachusetts.
The technically advanced systems delivered by the Hanscom team--in the hands of innovative Airmen--are the eyes, ears and brains of Air Force operations," said Peter Sherlock, senior vice president at The MITRE Corporation. "I commend Governor Patrick and local government and industry leaders for their continued collaboration and commitment to applying the strength of the rich Massachusetts technology ecosystem to the challenges facing Hanscom and the Air Force."
About the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force
In 2012 Governor Patrick supported the Task Force's creation to assess each installation's military assets, infrastructure and growth opportunities. The Task Force is co-chaired by the Governor, Congresswoman Tsongas, and former Senator Cowan. The six military bases include: Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield; Fort Devens; Hanscom Air Force Base; Joint Base Cape Cod; Natick Soldier Systems Center; and Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. These installations account for a total economic impact of $14.2 billion and over 46,500 jobs for the Massachusetts economy.
To learn more about the Task Force, please visit: www.mass.gov/governor/militarytaskforce.