MIRAMAR BEACH. Fla (WMBB) — The Defense Leadership Forum’s annual Air Force Contracting Summit is an opportunity for military leaders and defense contractors to learn what they can do for each other. 

“Now that the world is getting increasingly dangerous, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the threat of China, the nut case of North Korea, and the terrorists in Iran, the Defense Department is at high speed looking for the best products from the industry,” Chairman of the Defense Leadership Forum Bill Loiry said. 

The two-day event kicked off with a prerecorded message by Congressman Neal Dunn.

“An effective use of contractors can augment military capabilities and ensure our troops receive what they need when they need it,” Dunn said. 

Dunn was an integral part of the successful lobbying effort for funding to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael. 

“Tyndall was very important to our national security,” Rep. Dunn’s District Director Frank Williams said. “Now, there are things there are missions at Tyndall that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.”

The $4.94 billion investment will also benefit the local economy.

“Yesterday in one of our meetings an agreement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that we will select the Defense Leadership Forum,” Loiry said. “We’ll be developing a list of local companies with their capabilities.”  

Some of the companies involved in the Tyndall rebuild are attending the summit.

“A lot of the companies are here,” Loiry said. “Some of them are here from other parts of the country for the first time, they like that we have three Air Force bases, three Navy bases, and Army Special Operations. Many of them will be setting up satellite offices or manufacturing plants here.”

Day two of the Summit session will also center on the Tyndall rebuild.