Just how much money Perry and the new business incubator that is becoming known by the acronym DSTA will have to operate with remains up in the air, though.
State Senator Tony Rand, a powerful Democrat from Cumberland County who is a fervent supporter of the DSTA, said Tuesday that it was likely he would wait until January to seek an additional $2 million in state funding for it. Rand pointed out that some money remains from an initial appropriation of $2 million granted last year.
"We're probably not going to do anything more at this time," he explained.
However, Rand reiterated his strong support for the DSTA. "It's one of the most innovative job creation ideas I've seen," he said. "It ties North Carolina's high tech industry together with the Special Forces capability of Fort Bragg."
Congressman Robin Hayes, a Republican, is also seeking $2.4 million in federal funding to launch wireless communications lab at the DSTA. The House has passed the defense appropriations bill that includes the funding, but the Senate has yet to take final action, said a spokesperson for Hayes' office.
Perry, who spent part of his Army career stationed at Fort Bragg before moving into the defense industry, was named to the post on Monday by the Partnership for Defense Innovation. The non-profit organization is assembling the various pieces necessary to launch the DSTA, which backers say will serve as an incubator for the launching of new businesses and new technology.
Perry left the Army in June of 2001with the rank of Sergeant Major in Special Forces. During his Special Forces assignments he spent time in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Twice he was assigned to "classified Special Mission Units", according to his biography.
Perry comes to the position from SYTEX, a defense contractor that was acquired by Lockheed Martin last year. Perry worked at SYTEX for five years in a variety of roles, including management of special training programs. SYTEX provided information technology and technical support services to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
Perry is the first employee hired for the DSTA, said Kristie Lozano, vice president of communications for the Cumberland County Business Council. The Partnership for Defense Innovation is geared to drive new business development in Cumberland County.
"He is responsible for implementing the business plan," Lozano said.
The DSTA also is in the final process of negotiating a lease for a facility. Final details should be announced in the next day or two, Lozano said.
The North Carolina Technology Association in Raleigh has been a major supporter of the DSTA.
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