The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Columnists

June 6, 2011

GREG PLATT | Event showcases Pa.’s importance in defense

— This week’s Showcase for Commerce, the nationally renowned defense contracting exhibition taking place in Johnstown, is an important reminder of Pennsylvania’s contributions to our country’s defense industry.

Some of the world’s most advanced defense technologies are being developed and manufactured in our own backyard.

Pennsylvania’s and Johnstown’s commitment to businesses that help defend our nation is also bringing an important return to our state’s citizens, thanks to the thousands of jobs here that serve as an engine for economic growth.

Pennsylvania’s important role in the defense industry was highlighted in feedback we received during recent interviews with troops who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Soldiers told us that the remote weapon station manufactured right here in Johnstown – Kongsberg’s Protector CROWS – was saving soldiers’ lives, preventing traumatic brain injuries and helping troops better target the enemy – as well as allowing them to distinguish civilians from enemies.

The people of Johnstown who build the system are incredibly proud of this contribution to our armed forces.

The U.S. Army, including the Pennsylvania National Guard, uses the Kongsberg Protector CROWS as its sole Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS), a testament to the hard work and dedication of our Johnstown employees who build the systems.

Our employees celebrated the news Monday that the Army has booked an order valued at approximately $100 million, part of the Army’s ramp-up on these systems announced in February.

Our presence in Pennsylvania sustains more than 300 manufacturing, development and supplier jobs in the Johnstown area.

Multiply this type of employment scenario across the multitude of defense companies in Pennsylvania and the value the defense industry brings to our state is clear.

Our company and our employees are thankful that Pennsylvania is committed to supporting the innovative talent and work forces that enable defense companies such as ours to continue to provide our military with the best, most effective systems to secure our country at home and protect our troops abroad.

With the Showcase for Commerce, Johnstown offers the country a glimpse of why this region is such a powerful and significant force in the defense industry, and why companies from around the globe routinely seek to do business here.

Greg Platt is vice president and general manager of Kongsberg Defense Corp.’s Richland Township plant.

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