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The future of the defense industry

Fact: Defense is Kitsap’s economic foundation, fueling more than 50 percent of our economy.

Fact: Sequestration and continuing resolutions have created a negative impact on defense funding.

It is with these facts in mind that the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance and Pacific NW Defense Coalition present the fifth annual Pacific NW Defense Symposium on Sept. 24-25. This is the annual event where defense contractors, defense decision-makers and consultants “in the know” gather to share and hear information from the D.C. beltway, learn about specific topics in the defense industry and most importantly, make new contacts with like-minded leaders from throughout the region and northwest.

Returning this year is RDML Joe Carnevale (ret.), senior defense advisor at Shipbuilders Council of America. Carnevale delivers information in a no-nonsense, insider tone that is a highlight for many repeat attendees at the annual symposium. He is well acquainted with defense acquisition issues and regularly represents his organization before Congress, the Navy, the Coast Guard and other federal agencies.

Three large prime contractors in the defense industry — Boeing, URS Corp. and Skanska — will be providing their insights on how they see the future in terms of defense contracting. These large firms are involved in construction, manufacturing, engineering and technical services and touch on the types of services and projects that regional firms perform as subcontractors. We look forward to hearing their perspective in the changing world of defense spending and contracting.

Cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a focus for federal spending and the military has ongoing and planned projects. According to the Department of Defense Cyber Domain website, the Defense Department named cyberspace a new domain of warfare in 2011. National cyber capabilities are in a state of transition. Panelists in the cybersecurity industry will present their views on opportunities, challenges and changes in this fast-changing field.

How does the shipbuilding and ship repair industry look now? How will it look in five years? As with many other industries fueled by defense spending, we can expect change. Based on experience, past and current contracts and business projections, panelists will provide their insight on how this defense industry is changing and what those in this field can expect.

What do UAV, UGV and UUV have in common? They are all unmanned vehicles — one travels in the airspace, one travels on the ground and the third travels underwater. Current and future uses of unmanned vehicles will be outlined in a panel discussion from those in research and development as well as implementation areas of this growing industry.

If you are part of the defense industry, this is a must-attend event for you. Past attendees state this is one event they keep on their calendar as they make new contacts, find new contractors and come away with new knowledge. You can find more details at www.nwdefense.com. We’ll see you there as we navigate together the future of defense for the region.

Kathy Cocus is business development director at Kitsap Economic Development Alliance.

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