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Crane Leader Chosen To Help Commercialize Defense Technology

John Dement

The Indiana lieutenant governor today appointed an official from Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane to lead the state's efforts in commercializing defense technology.

John Dement is being named the Indiana Office of Defense Development's director of technology commercialization.

He has been working for the past seven years as the technology transfer manager at Crane and is joining the state office through a law that allows a federal agency to "loan" an employee to another government department.

Dement's main job will be to take the innovations produced in the laboratory setting at Crane and aid in their development and sale to commercial markets.

Technology used in military guns, for example, can be altered and sold to commercial gun manufacturers that produce guns for deer hunting.  Sensor technology developed by Indiana's defense industry is also being used by medical companies to detect bed sores.

This is what Dement calls "tech transfer."

"We've been doing it at Crane with national prominence," Dement said. "Now we're trying to take it out across the state and create a new model that is a much more repeatable process."

Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann also emphasized the goal of being a national model on how to get defense technologies to the commercial market, citing Crane's achievement of earning 400 patents over the past several years.

The head of the U.S. Department of Defense's 62 research laboratories agreed that Crane's model should be expanded.

"If I could duplicate Crane across the country, I would," said John Fischer, the director of defense laboratories enterprise for the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

Indiana Office of Defense Development officials say they hope commercializing new technologies will also help boost Indiana's economy.

Indiana's Defense Department contracts have declined $6 billion since 2008, largely due to the drop in demand for Humvees. But state officials say they are confident efforts underway to boost the state's defense industry will keep Indiana competitive in the long-run.

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