by Van Carpenter, DANC Communications Committee Chair
The Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) has since its beginning focused on collaborative growth initiatives to help support and grow the defense economy in North Carolina.
As a quick review of our history, in August of 2019, the North Carolina Defense Business Association and the North Carolina Military Foundation agreed to merge their resources. Each organization brought a rich history and significant capabilities to support the North Carolina Defense Industrial Base. The name of the merged organization was changed to the Defense Alliance of North Carolina and a new direction was established with a focus on what the future needs the DOD required from its contractors and vendors.
That direction bore results on February 27, 2020, when the Defense Asset Inventory and Target Industry Cluster Analysis, a study led by the Defense Alliance of North Carolina and by RTI International and the North Carolina Department of Commerce was completed. The study found overall, that North Carolina is among the fastest growing states in the nation for technology areas being targeted by the Department of Defense (DoD). The published report by DANC identifies six technology areas targeted the DoD is prioritizing for future contracts:
- Advanced manufacturing,
- Autonomous Systems,
- Data and Knowledge Management,
- Power and,
- Human Performance.
In addition to the Cluster study and its implications, DANC continues to provide a voice, education, advocacy and awareness for the defense economy in NC. Earlier this year, on February 11, 2021 – a memorandum between the Defense Alliance of North Carolina and the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission (NCMAC) was executed by NCMAC Chairperson, Rep. Grier Martin. The collaborative goal was to provide strategic communication plans, awareness and programming to support the mission of NCMAC within its target markets and communities.
Now, in the wake of the Cluster Study, many collaborative efforts are being organized around the six clusters. The latest is a newly launched consortium led by RTI International and comprised of more than 25 North Carolina-based academic, industry, nonprofit and state government organizations will bring together expertise from a variety of fields to offer world-class human performance solutions to the Department of Defense (DoD).
The consortium, called the North Carolina Center for Optimizing Military Performance, or NC-COMP, was launched in the Fall of 2021 and will focus on delivering solutions centered around preventing injury and speeding recovery, maintaining performance in multi-stressor environments, and enhancing baseline physical and mental performance of our military personnel.
“To optimize military performance, it is important to consider how physical, cognitive, and psychological health factors influence the overall well-being of Service members,” said Dennis McGurk, Ph.D., an expert in military medical research and development at RTI who spent more than 25 years in the U.S. Army. “After all, Service members are subjected to an enormous amount of stress at home station, during training and while on deployments, and how they handle those stressors has a direct influence on mission effectiveness.”
“One of the most unique advantages of establishing this type of operation in North Carolina is that we have all the critical ingredients for success – world-renowned universities and research organizations, innovative high-tech companies, and thousands of operational military ‘end users’ — all within a short driving distance,” said Kathie Sidner, Director of Defense and Military Partnerships at the University of North Carolina System. “But even better, we have a robust history of combining these assets through strong partnerships between academia, industry, and DoD elements in the state to deliver solutions.”
In addition to pooling resources from member organizations, NC-COMP will partner with outside consortia and DoD organizations to provide unparalleled access to best-in-breed technologies and services.
To understand the scope of this consortium, one only has to look at the members involved. In addition to RTI, the consortium currently includes the following founding member organizations: the 16-institution University of North Carolina System; North Carolina Biotechnology Center; The Geneva Foundation and Fort Bragg Research Institute (FBRI); the ASSIST Center at NCSU; BioMojo; Bionica Labs; Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC); Duke Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology; Duke University; ECU Office of National Security & Industry Initiatives; Emerging Technology Institute (ETI); First Flight Venture Center; Horizon Performance; KAATSU; North Carolina A&T State University; the NC Defense Technology Transition Office (DEFTECH); North Carolina Department of Commerce; North Carolina State University (NCSU); NuFabrx; OptiLab; Phil Williams LLC; Reef Systems; RTI Innovation Advisors; SAS; TRX Elite; UNC-Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Matthew Gfeller Center; UNC Charlotte; and UNC Wilmington.
The bottom line is that
“This consortium will bring together a wealth of resources in North Carolina to provide world-class solutions to the military”
DANC has an ongoing participation in helping facilitate, sponsor and advocate for defense economy collaborations like NC-COMP. DANC represents a unique resource to North Carolina. Its history has been founded on growing and strengthening the North Carolina defense industrial base. DANC’s senior leadership represents hundreds of years of military and business experience. Annually, both our volunteer leadership and active general membership donate literally thousands of hours to support the interests of North Carolina’s defense industrial base; donated for the benefit of the state at no charge to the state or the taxpayer. No other organization is better equipped to communicate with the broader defense community, ascertain the views of such a wide variety of professionals from all walks of life, and integrate those views into a common program and goal.
If you would like to know more about DANC’s efforts to promote the defense economy in North Carolina, please feel free to contact us.
Van Carpenter (US Navy Retired) is a global business change agent, advisor and communicator. He regularly advises, coaches, speaks and trains on innovation, creative change, catalyst communications & marketing, and adaptive leadership. Van has over thirty plus years of entrepreneurial and executive experience in corporate, government, military, marketing, agency and entrepreneurial sectors. He brings his unique blend of diverse experience, business acumen, humor, and real-world perspective to both his advice and communication.
Van is a retired Commander in the Naval Reserve. He lives near Clayton NC with his wife Deborah and is currently hanging out in the “basement office” while managing his business consulting and innovation group – Van Carpenter Innovative Solutions. Contact him anytime at 919-539-3499 or email him your topic suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.