INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana is combining its forces to grow the state’s defense industry and military assets, creating a collaborative approach to market the sector and bring new business to the state.  Governor Eric Holcomb announced Monday a realignment of the Indiana Office of Defense Development, which will now fall under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

“With a strong military presence and network of defense assets, combined with the tactical advantage of our state’s pro-growth business climate, Indiana is perfectly positioned to be at the center of global advancements and growth in defense” said Holcomb.

The governor also announced the appointment of Major General Omer Tooley to lead the defense development team. Tooley will be responsible for growing Indiana’s defense industry by promoting the state’s defense assets and attracting new defense-related businesses to Indiana.

The governor’s office says this strategic approach will help capitalize on the military facilities and private companies already in place in the state, such as the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base, Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

Many defense contractors, big and small, have production facilities in the state including AM General, BAE Systems, Honeywell International, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, and Saab. The IEDC says Indiana currently has $3.5 billion in defense contracts.

“In Indiana, we have a rich tradition of developing safe, reliable and innovative products that support our nation’s military,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “With the addition of Major General Tooley, the IEDC will strengthen its efforts to target industry growth in the defense sector and attract new businesses to Indiana, adding to a growing list of companies that are finding success here.”

Tooley, a military veteran of 41 years, is currently the chief executive officer with the Indianapolis-based National Center for Complex Operations. He will start his new position at the IEDC on August 26.