The real story behind the new headquarters, that are being located on the Space Coast like Lockheed Martin ’s Fleet Ballistics Missile headquarters’, is one that began quite a while ago. Like the awe of seeing a huge wave break on the beach, we usually do not realize that wave may have traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to make that dramatic splash. This story actually began during a sixty-one-day period in 2005.
In that fateful year, Florida was facing the possibility of losing up to five military installations, and Brevard County was especially vulnerable. Three years earlier, United States Secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, announced that 20-25% of all U.S. Military Bases would be closed in an effort to increase the efficiency of our military.
Known as BRAC, or a Base Realignment and Closure, this process had only been conducted four times throughout the United States’ history. However, this round was to equal the total of all the last four BRAC rounds combined.
The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) began a strategic approach to maximize the military’s presence in Brevard County. Primary Goals were established, and the community rallied together in a joint effort of support.
On May 13, 2005, also known as “BRAC Friday,” the official list of recommended closures and relocations was released. Fortunately, Patrick Air Force Base (PAFB) skirted the recommendation to close, saving a huge economic engine for Brevard County. Currently, there are over 13,000 military, civilian, military dependents and contractors on the base.
The good news that Patrick Air Force Base would remain, came with the news that a recommendation was made to relocate the Nuclear Test and Evaluation at the Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) in Cape Canaveral, to the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic in Kings Bay, Georgia. The work began again. This time, the stakes were clearly defined, and the timeline was extremely tight.
The EDC and the community had just 61 days to review this new recommendation and prepare a formal argument that would convince the BRAC Commission to reverse their recommendation.
By analyzing the BRAC criteria, the EDC found that if relocated to Kings Bay, NOTU military operations would be degraded and cost significantly more due to the vast increase in transit time from pier, increasing a single mission’s duration by 22-26 hours. In addition, NOTU leadership would lose the Joint Force interaction with the 45th Space Wing, and with NASA.
The final step was to testify before the BRAC Commission in New Orleans on July 12, 2005. Speaking on behalf of Brevard County and the EDC was Captain Bill Borger, U.S Navy Retired, and Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D.
In an 8 – 1 Vote, the Commission overturned the recommendation, and NOTU remained at Cape Canaveral.
The Differentiating First Domino
Saving NOTU was the first domino in a line which would ultimately lead to the recent announcement that Lockheed Martin would be moving its Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Headquarters from California, to Titusville, Florida.
The sequence was: Lockheed Martin’s Post Production Center of Excellence coming to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in 2006. Then, the Navy Engineering Service Facility in 2009, followed by the Navy Strategic Weapons System Ashore in 2012, then the Lockheed Martin E & O Operation in 2013. All were projects and successes that created the dynamics and catalysts which were key to bringing this important headquarters to Titusville today.
Celebrating a New Headquarters
On July 30, nearly 15 years after EDC efforts played an essential role in retaining NOTU in Cape Canaveral, civic and community leaders joined Lockheed Martin executives in recognizing the significant milestone of Lockheed Martin’s Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Headquarters officially marking its relocation to Titusville, Florida.
The FBM program supports NOTU and its submarine-launched Trident missiles. The presence of NOTU was one of the key factors in the decision to relocate the FBM Headquarters, announced by Lockheed Martin in February 2017.
This move has already led to a commitment to invest nearly $40 million into the Titusville campus and the transition of 350 jobs from Sunnyvale, California. Lockheed Martin has developed, built and sustained six generations of submarine-launched ballistic missiles under the FBM program.
Sarah Hiza, Lockheed Martin Space’s vice president for Fleet Ballistic Missile programs, said the Space Coast’s significant defense and space industries were crucial in Lockheed Martin’s decision.
“The beauty of being in an area where you have a workforce and it’s already mission-focused,” she told the Orlando Sentinel at the dedication, “Is they understand when they are hired what we do. They know what they signed up for.”
Sixty years from now, the success celebrated that day will still be felt on the Space Coast, as a move of this magnitude will positively impact generations to come in Brevard County. In a recent interview, Lynda Weatherman, President and CEO of the EDC stated, “Lockheed Martin’s Fleet Ballistic Missile program in Titusville is equivalent to what Embraer was to Melbourne 10 years ago. Coming in, starting in with 200 or 300 jobs, but then as you make the case, it’s at 1,000 jobs.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF A HEADQUARTERS
- Headquarters are the hub of an organization’s operation and administration, and holds a high level of influence not only within its own corporation, but also within the business ecosystem in which it operates.
- By holding a company’s executive management team and key managerial and support staff, key business decisions related to functions such as strategic planning, corporate communications, taxes, law, marketing, finance, human resources and information technology are handled within a headquarters
- Where a corporation’s headquarters is located can play a significant part in helping form its culture and mission, as well as steering its philanthropic and business practices.
- Potential benefits from headquarters include:
- Investment into community
- Production of well-paying jobs and key executive positions in the area
- Attraction of new companies who will want to do business with these well-established companies