On the Scene: Oregon defense industry celebrates year’s achievements

Oregon defense industry leaders celebrate their accomplishments days after a historic $700 billion national defense authorization passed the House of Representatatives.

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Although Oregon is the only state with no active-duty military base, defense contractors have landed a windfall in major contracts lately and have also released groundbreaking new products and technologies.

Military leaders, elected officials and defense company executives honored these accomplishments during the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition’s annual dinner,held last night at the Oregon Convention Center.

Here are a few highlights from the event: 

Related Story: Oregon Defense Contractors Win Big

Axiom Electronics showed off its circuit board-building robot. The technology is offered at a low price point compared to similar automated manufacturing technologies. 

IMG 0725Axiom’s robot builds circuit boards

Brigadier General Mark Crosby, who oversees planning and deployment of the Oregon National Guard for emergencies, said the disaster he’s most worried about is the Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake. “It’s almost impossible to plan for this,” he said. 

IMG 0729Brigadier General Mark Crosby

State Representative Mark Meek sang “Proud to be an American,” to a standing ovation — not the most common sight in Portland. 

Keynote Speaker Leanne Caret, President & CEO, Boeing Defense Space & Security, praised the $700 billion defense bill. She said the bill  will most likely be presented to President Trump by Thanksgiving.

The historic level of defense funding is more than Trump asked for, and exceeds the amount congress is allowed to spend on defense under current congressional budget caps. Caret called for lifting these caps. 

She also lauded Repbulicans’ “once in a generation tax reform plan.” The plan would cut the corporate tax rate to 20% and has been criticized by 400 millionaires as giving too much in tax breaks to the rich at the expense of critical social services. 

IMG 0731 
Boeing VP Leanne Caret was optimistic about the defense industry’s future

Automation Solutions and Radio Hill Technologies won innovation awards.

IMG 0668Radio Hill Technologies’ CEO and COO with their “Dronebuster”

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“I’m optimistic,” Caret said of the defense industry’s future. “Everything is on track.”