Defense Conference Underway In Newport

Aug 29, 2017

An annual gathering of defense industry experts and contractors kicked off in Newport Monday.

The Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance hosts the three-day conference, dubbed “Defense Innovation Days.”

Speakers will weigh in on the latest trends in the defense industry and companies can showcase technology they’re commercializing for military use.

This year, organizers said the conference is drawing more than 300 attendees and 30 companies.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, gave opening remarks Monday. He emphasized the importance of introducing children to science and technology careers at an earlier age.

"You can't start with someone who is 21-years-old,” Reed said. “It starts at four.  We need to emphasize STEM programs.”

Commander of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, weighed in on cyber security issues Tuesday morning.

Other Rhode Island speakers include Gov. Gina Raimondo and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

The City by the Sea is home to the Naval Station Newport which employs 5,800 people and the Naval War College.