U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly spoke at a Crane Congressional Breakfast on Thursday and was joined by Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michelle Howard, who attended the event at Donnelly’s invitation and delivered the keynote speech. Admiral Howard is the Navy’s second-in-command and the highest ranking Naval Officer to attend the event in recent years. The breakfast was organized by the Indiana Office of Defense Development. Department of Defense senior leaders and representatives from Congress, the defense industry, and academia were among those who attended.
Donnelly said, “This event provided a valuable opportunity to ensure leaders in Congress and the Pentagon know what a valuable asset our nation has in NSA Crane. Since World War II, Indiana has been home to one of the most important naval installations in the country, and I was glad to hear so many of our military leaders echo that message today. Crane employs more than 4,000 Hoosiers and touches nearly every county in Indiana. These incredible men and women work on the cutting edge of electronic warfare, provide one-of-a-kind support to Navy SEALs and other special forces, and keep our nation’s nuclear arsenal safe, secure, and effective. I was honored that Admiral Howard joined us today to talk about the critical role Hoosiers play in keeping our nation safe. I thank the Admiral and our other guests for their strong support as we work to expand on Crane’s success going forward.”
During her keynote remarks, Admiral Howard highlighted the contributions of NSA Crane to the Navy. Admiral Howard said, “Now, when you think Navy … you think about the seas. But bases like Crane, Indiana, serve as centers of excellence for some of our toughest maritime and littoral warfighting challenges. They also serve as an important connection between our ocean-going Navy and many of our Sailors who come from the Heartland and who dream of making a difference sailing warships or flying naval aircraft. And while it may be closer to waving fields of grain than ocean waves, NSA Crane is essential in our Navy’s ability to Operate Forward.”
Admiral Howard has served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations since July 2014. For more than three decades, she has distinguished herself through service to our country. She is the Navy’s first female four-star admiral and the first woman to command a U.S. Navy ship—the U.S.S. Rushmore.
Donnelly serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and is Ranking Member of the Strategic Force Subcommittee, which oversees the nation’s nuclear forces.
Other speakers at the event included Vice Admiral Terry Benedict, Director of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Program; Vice Admiral William Hilarides, Commander of Naval Sea Systems Command; Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and the Environment; and Brigadier General Patrick Burden, Army Deputy Program Executive Officer Ammunition.