Tsongas Takes on Mission of Strengthening Massachusetts’ Defense Communities

Since entering Congress six years ago, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) has been a devoted advocate for defense communities in Massachusetts and across the country, along with the men and women who serve in the armed forces, and veterans.

As the only member of the Massachusetts delegation serving on the House Armed Services Committee, Tsongas is personally engaged on issues affecting the defense sector throughout the commonwealth, including New England’s only active-duty Army and Air Force installations — the U.S. Army’s Soldier Systems Center in Natick and Hanscom Air Force Base.

When the congresswoman learned about the Army’s plans to terminate the general officer billet at Natick Labs earlier this year, she intervened with Army Secretary John McHugh, who reversed the decision. Tsongas also is leading the effort to gain federal approval to allow MIT Lincoln Labs to invest $450 million to upgrade facilities at Hanscom. And when the Air Force last year announced plans to reorganize Air Force Materiel Command, the congresswoman helped secure the Air Force’s commitment to protect Hanscom’s core missions.

Tsongas sees her role on the executive committee of Massachusetts’ Military Asset & Security Strategy Task Force as an opportunity to highlight the significance of the commonwealth’s military installations, along with its high-caliber workforce, top-notch educational institutions and advanced technological companies that create an important regional synergy that strengthens the military. The task force focuses on protecting, promoting and enhancing the state’s six military bases by delivering resources to support workforce training, infrastructure improvements, environmental and utility savings, veterans’ services and military family support, housing and transportation at each base.

In 2011, the congresswoman supported the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which works to decrease unemployment for veterans by helping to build their skills and education.

Tsongas’ leadership in protecting defense infrastructure and supporting innovative partnerships that strengthen defense communities and military installation efficiency earned her one of ADC’s inaugural Congressional Leadership awards. Award winners will be recognized at a special ceremony on Capitol Hill next week during the Defense Communities National Summit.


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