Northwest Florida Bases Embrace the Future with New Funding

The area prepares for the future of new defense investments in technology, cybersecurity
Loiry With Afcs20 Speakers
Chairman William Loiry with Air Force speakers and Summit leadership at the 2020 Air Force Contracting Summit.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, from Florida’s 1st Congressional District, said at the Defense Leadership Forum’s 2020 Air Force Contracting Summit that Eglin Air Force Base is currently in “a golden era of funding.”

The same can be said about the entire Northwest Florida region, as the area prepares for the future of new defense investments in technology, cybersecurity, space, hypersonics, and economic development.

Northwest Florida is home to the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, the most deployed wing in the Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base, the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base, Tyndall Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Pensacola, and Naval Support Activity Panama City.

Brig. Gen. Patrice Melancon, Executive Director for the Tyndall Program Management Office, said in an article by WMBB-TV, “The Tyndall Program Management Office, alongside the 325th Fighter Wing, has been working together to devise a strategy on how and where we will house construction workers for our craft labor camps as we move forward on the $4.25 billion dollar rebuild of the base. We will be meeting with Air Force and industry leaders to proactively seek innovative solutions to construction and logistics issues that Tyndall may face in the future as we work toward building the base of the future.”

Nathan Nelson, the director of military affairs for Rep. Gaetz, also spoke at the seventh annual Air Force Contracting Summit about creating a Futures Park outside of Eglin AFB.

The facility would aim to provide higher education opportunities, internships with the potential for future security clearance employment positions, and a space for collaboration between military contractors and military personnel.

Also addressing the Summit was Major Gen. (Ret) Burke E. (“Ed”) Wilson, until recently the Pentagon’s top cyber official.

Many want Northwest Florida to become Florida’s Cyber Coast. The region already houses the Center for Information Dominance at NAS Pensacola, the Navy Information Operations Command at NAS Pensacola, the 96th Cyberspace Test Group at Eglin AFB, and the 47th Cyberspace Test Squadron at Eglin AFB.

William Loiry, Chairman of the Defense Leadership Forum which organizes the annual Air Force Contracting Summit, said, “The new and expanding defense investments in Northwest Florida are truly making the region both economically diversified and of critical importance to our nation.”


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William Loiry is chairman of the Defense Leadership Forum (DLF), headquartered in Washington, D.C. Loiry, who resides in South Walton County, is renowned for recognizing national and international needs and then bringing key decision-makers together to identify the best solutions.

Since 2010, he and his team have organized major defense business conferences in Washington, D.C., and around the country.

In 1998, following the bombings of American embassies in Africa, Loiry organized the first conference on the threat of Osama bin Laden to American companies overseas. In 1999, he organized the first national cybersecurity conference in Washington.

After 9/11, Loiry and his team organized the major homeland security forums in Washington, bringing together government and military officials, business leaders and homeland security experts.

Gov. Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was a featured keynote speaker. More than 100,000 Congressional, government, military and industry leaders have attended the conferences organized by William Loiry and his team.

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