Congress Approves Defense Funding Bill that Includes $30 Million Intended for BRIDG Facility in Central Florida
Provision championed by Reps. Soto and Murphy in House; Sens. Rubio and Nelson in Senate
Washington, D.C. (September 27, 2018) – Congress has approved a defense funding bill that includes $30 million intended for the BRIDG facility in Osceola County. BRIDG, a not-for-profit public-private partnership, would use any funding it receives to establish a Microelectronics Cybersecurity Center and to develop trusted microelectronic devices in a secure environment to support the Department of Defense. This provision was championed by Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson in the Senate, and by central Florida Reps. Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy in the House. Soto represents the BRIDG facility, which is located in Kissimmee, and Murphy represents the University of Central Florida, a key member of the BRIDG partnership.
“Central Florida is home to a thriving high-tech ecosystem, and we’re pleased the defense spending bill significantly increases resources to manufacture advanced technologies,” said Reps. Soto and Murphy. “Microlectronics are critical to many defense activities, like GPS, radar, command and control, and communications. Making sure that the process for manufacturing microelectronics is secure from interference by foreign adversaries has been a challenge, and BRIDG is well-positioned to produce trusted microelectronics that support our men and women in uniform and help keep our nation safe. Once this defense funding bill is signed into law, we intend to advocate vigorously alongside Senators Rubio and Nelson for BRIDG to receive this funding.”
“The investments that the Central Florida region are making to establish a unique public-private partnership, solely focused on microelectronics development, are well-aligned to support the priorities that were established in this year’s defense spending bill,” said Chester Kennedy, CEO of BRIDG. “BRIDG looks forward to the opportunity to see its unique infrastructure and capabilities leveraged to support these key national security priorities, while creating additional jobs here in central Florida. We thank the Congressional members for their efforts on this legislation.”
“This strong show of support from Congress for the innovation that is driving our economy is a huge win for the Orlando region,” said Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership. “BRIDG is a critical asset in the region’s economic growth and this funding will help BRIDG as it continues to lay the foundation for the infrastructure that’s necessary to enable ground-breaking research and development into next-generation products and systems.”
Earlier this month, Rep. Soto and Rep. Murphy sent a letter to the Appropriations Conference Committee urging the $30 million intended for BRIDG be retained in the final bill. The defense funding bill was approved by the Senate last week and by the House yesterday, and will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.