WITH THE Battleship USS New Jersey anchored for history in Camden, our state pays tribute to military service and offers an opportunity for the next generation to learn about the sacrifices that were made so they could be free. This is a valuable lesson, and a particularly poignant one this month, when we commemorate Veterans Day (November 11).
In May 2018, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted a ship-naming ceremony in my hometown, Jersey City, to announce that a Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN 796) will bear the name USS New Jersey. The submarine will be named to honor the long-standing history its namesake state has had with the Navy, according to Mabus.
New Jersey was where the USS Holland, the Navy’s first submarine, was designed and constructed in October 1900. Since the creation of that first submarine, two naval ships have been named New Jersey—a battleship commissioned in 1906 which was part of the famed Great White Fleet and another battleship commissioned in 1943, making SSN 796 the third naval ship to bear the name “New Jersey.”
“New Jersey’s relationship with our Navy has been defined by innovation, leadership, and courage—in conquest and in combat,” says Mabus. “The name of our newest nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine will carry on that strong tradition.”
In this issue of COMMERCE, we feature Hackensack native and Navy Cmdr. Michael F. Delaney (see page 8), the new commanding officer of another Virginia-class attack submarine, the USS Montana, which is under construction and will enter service in 2020.
In addition to being honored as the namesake of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest nuclear-powered submarines, New Jersey has been awarded a $3 million grant by the U.S. Department Commerce to build an unmanned, aerial systems training and innovation facility to manufacture advanced drones.
This 20,000 square foot multi-tenant building, which will serve companies in the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry, will be located within the Cape May County Airport. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create 130 jobs, spur $1.9 million in private investment and will provide essential resources to UAS businesses— a growing industry in the region. Companies in the facility will each be provided with 5,000 square feet of space that will include offices and manufacturing areas.
“This federal investment is welcome news in Cape May County, which has been at the forefront of UAS testing and development,” explains U.S. Congressman Frank LoBiondo, chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee.
According to New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher—who is the subject of an exclusive interview on page 50—drones are already helping New Jersey farmers.
“I recently flew a drone over a farm in Gloucester County, that helps the farmers to survey their fields, so they can apply pesticides and insecticides in a targeted manner,” explains Fisher. “The drone’s resolution is good enough to let farmers inspect a single row of crops.”
From drones to submarines to farmers, New Jersey’s past, present and future are connected by continuous innovation, dedication to service (thank you veterans) and contributions to our nation. Let’s remember this proud tradition this month and celebrate it, as well.