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LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow
Home // Newsletter // Committed to the Warfighter…. From the Desk of LIFT CEO and Executive Director Nigel Francis

Committed to the Warfighter…. From the Desk of LIFT CEO and Executive Director Nigel Francis

September 14, 2019
Nigel Francis

I was able to spend a few days in Washington, D.C. recently with the leadership from the Department of Defense, as well as from the other seven DOD-supported institutes. What I came away with was a renewed energy and commitment from both the DOD and the institutes that we are here and on mission to support our warfighters and protect our nation – both of which will enhance our national economy.

At LIFT, we are continuing our work, not only with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, but also with the services by reaching out directly to the Navy, Army and Air Force. We also continue to work directly with our local partners like the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center right here in Warren, Michigan, on its ongoing research and development work.

Our men and women in uniform deserve to have the best, most sophisticated equipment possible, and that is a mission which has no finish line. As our adversaries develop better weapons, we need to ensure we have the armor to withstand them.  As we produce that armor, we need to develop weapons which can defeat those of our enemies.   The cycle continues, and we are on the leading edge of that work on the armor side and on the weapons side – including hypersonics, or weapons that can travel upwards of Mach 5.

We are also proud to support our military men and women as they complete their duty and service to our country. Our “Operation Next” pilot program at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, recently reached its goal of providing education and training to prepare transitioning soldiers for the most in-demand advanced manufacturing jobs — 101 soldiers in honor of the 101st Airborne housed at the base.

As a DOD partner institute, it is our responsibility to provide opportunities for the men and women who have served our country as they transition to civilian life.

Now that the Fort Campbell pilot is complete, we are looking forward to expanding the program to additional bases and military installations around the country.  Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, military spouses and the National Guard and Reserve deserve nothing less.

When I took this position 15 months ago, I knew that this institute was working on issues larger than itself. Now, having been here, partnering with the Department of Defense and interacting with the men and women in uniform, I know that we are working to support them and their families, and I could not be prouder to do so.