On Tuesday afternoon at the Florida Chamber Military, Defense and Veterans Summit, the head of Space Florida discussed aerospace.
That subject included the Space Force.
While there is a persistent narrative that Florida is no longer in the running, Frank DiBello thinks Florida must continue to be at the center of American space activity.
And the state must continue to fight for Space Force, odds notwithstanding…
DiBello noted that, regarding Space Force, the Governor mandated recruitment of the headquarters.
“It remains a high priority,” DiBello said.
DiBello thinks a Colorado HQ would not take advantage of Florida’s launch capabilities, supply chain or “ability for rapid reconstitution of assets.”
“It misses the importance of the commercial space industry,” he added. “We need to increase the political pain if we’re going to take this action.”
DiBello added that he was happy press wasn’t in the room.
“Using the voice of the Governor … the Lt. Gov…. many of the people in this room and the industry” is key.
“We’re going to keep the pressure on the White House and make sure Florida is front and center,” DiBello added.
Noting a decades-long consolidation in aerospace, DiBello noted that the state has stayed competitive, maintaining direct jobs even after the space shuttle program ended.
“We’ve focused on diversification and building a supply chain,” DiBello said. “We’ve moved into the manufacturing sector in a major way … building next-generation spacecraft … recovery vehicles … satellites.”
DiBello noted industry issues also, including companies not feeling confident in Florida workers.
“They get their employees from other companies,” DiBello contended. “They have to interview seven times as many as they hire.”
One solution: Creating feeder programs in educational institutions, including trade schools and colleges.
Another potential solution: pre-screening by the state, with CareerSource or another vehicle helping to “lower the cost of acquisition of talent.”
Florida could be the “ground node” of the industry, with a bright future including commercial launches, DiBello added.
“This is Florida’s time for aerospace,” DiBello said, given a “very favorable business … regulatory and tax environment.”