Indiana Senator Dan Coats, a long-time advocate of NSWC Crane and its importance to the country’s defense, visited the base for the final time as a Senator on Wednesday, October 19.
Senator Coats, 73, announced last year that he would not seek re-election in 2016 after serving 24 years as a member of Congress. Senator Coats represented Indiana’s 4th District in the House of Representatives from 1981-1989, then succeeded Dan Quayle in the Senate from 1989-1999. Senator Coats did not seek re-election in 1998, but returned to the Senate in 2010. He also served as the United States Ambassador to Germany from 2001-2005 during the presidency of George W. Bush.
Senator Coats’ visit to Crane on Wednesday wasn’t so much a ‘goodbye’ as it was a ‘hello again’. Senator Coats has been to the base numerous times over the years, and he even invited the Navy’s top admiral, Jon Greenert, to visit Crane in 2012. Senator Coats succeeded not only in getting Greenert to the base, but also by getting him to recognize the significance of the work done at Crane.
“The development of work done here resonates with our needs in the Navy,” Chief of Naval Operations Greenert said at the time. “It’s not only today but the future. It will hold a high priority to me and my budget.”
Senator Coats wanted to visit NSWA Crane on Wednesday to see how it has progressed over the years. He recognized years ago that Crane’s work in CyberSecurity would be essential to not only the Navy, but the United States defense as a whole.
“I don’t want it to sound like a farewell tour or anything like that. It’s just been a joy to represent and to help people who play major roles in the decision-making process about what is done here,” Senator Coats said. “There’s a lot of good memories about this place. I have a real admiration for where you’ve come since I was first introduced to this. It’s just an amazing story. The relationships you have, the service you have across the spectrum, it’s an unbelievable story.”
While Wednesday’s visit was Coats’ final one as a U.S. Senator, he’ll likely make more trips to Crane in the future. Senator Coates was a co-founder of the Sagamore Institute, a non-profit think tank located in Indianapolis. He and Jay Hein developed Sagamore because they thought there was a need for a think tank based in the heartland’s values and geography. Sagamore’s goal is “to tackle difficult issues with civility and focus on solutions not ideology”.
“I was telling Captain Elder here, I don’t know what I’m going to do when I retire — I’m in no rush to make a decision,” Senator Coats said. “Sagamore has a relationship with Crane, and I’m going to have a relationship with Sagamore, so I hope this is not my last visit here.”