The following is a press release from the office of state Sen. Mike Barrett.
Surrounded by the latest in military technology this past week, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought along State Sen. Mike Barrett and State Rep. Ken Gordon for a tour of the cutting-edge R&D underway at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford.
“The work done by the soldiers and contractors here is crucial to our defense,” said Barrett, after inspecting a drone -- an unpiloted craft about the size of a hobbyist’s remote-controlled airplane -- that identifies buried IEDs from the sky. An IT specialist by profession, Barrett said he was also impressed by the cyber-security projects taking place on the base.
Barrett represents Bedford, Concord, Lexington and Lincoln, the four towns closest to Hanscom. Noting the base’s financial impact, Barrett said, “In addition to everything else, military personnel, their families and civilian support workers bolster the local community. They eat at restaurants and shop all over my district.”
The workforce at the federal facility totals 5,828 military and non-military workers. On his visit, Barrett said he heard firsthand about the labor force consequences of sequestration, which have forced many employees to take unpaid time off this summer. He backed Warren’s assessment that Washington needs to make military spending cuts but in other, smarter ways.
Barrett serves on the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee and is Senate Chair of the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. He directed special praise at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, which provides support, ranging from relocation assistance to workshops on Air Force lifestyle, for both active-duty and retired military and their families. Barrett thanked Sen. Warren’s office for arranging the tour and also thanked tour host Colonel Lester Weilacher, Commander of the 66th Air Base Group.