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The Florida Defense Support Task Force is the main body of support for the defense industry in Florida, awarding grants and guiding the future of military operations in the state.
The Florida Defense Support Task Force is a legislatively mandated council (created by Florida Statute 288.987) whose mission is to preserve, protect, and enhance Florida’s military missions and installations. Below are the members of the Florida Defense Support Task Force.
THE FLORIDA DEFENSE SUPPORT TASK FORCE IS CHARGED WITH:
Working with Florida’s Base Commanders to prevent encroachment from impacting mission capabilities for military forces based in Florida
Maintaining and expanding the missions of Florida’s military installations
Improving transportation access to Florida’s military installations
Assisting installations in meeting DOD renewable energy goals
Strengthening state support for military families and veterans with a focus on education, health care, employment and family programs
Senator Wright was elected to the Senate in 2018 and represents Senate District 14, which consists of parts of Brevard and Volusia Counties. He currently serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs and Space. He serves on four additional committees; The Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs; Commerce and Tourism; Environment and Natural Resources and the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee. He is also proud to serve as Co-Chair of the Florida Space Caucus.
Tom Neubauer is the owner and President of ERA Neubauer Real Estate, Inc., a leading brokerage and management company with offices serving Florida’s Bay, Gulf, Washington, and Walton Counties. He formed his firm in 1977 where he and his wife Margaret have worked together for 41 years. Mr. Neubauer grew up in an Air Force family and has maintained close ties to the military in various capacities. In June 2018 he was presented the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) Community Leadership Award at a ceremony in Washington DC.
Representative Altman previously served in the Florida Senate from 2008-2016 and the Florida House of Representatives from 2003-2008. Although his tenure in the Florida Senate termed out two years early due to redistricting, Thad's passion to serve did not. In November 2016 and 2018, he was elected to serve District 52 in the Florida House of Representatives. In February 2019, The Speaker of the House, José Oliva appointed Representative Altman to the Florida Defense Support Task Force. Representative Altman also serves on the following committees: Public Integrity and Ethics Committee, Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, Education Committee, Higher Education Career Readiness Subcommittee, Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee. He is a driving force for sound policies that help small businesses create long-term jobs for the Space Coast and throughout Florida. He is also a champion of the environment including support for the restoration and preservation of the Indian River Lagoon.
Thomas G. Bowman was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as The Deputy Secretary of The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on August 3, 2017. He retired from the VA on June 15, 2018 . and established TGB Strategies LLC to advice, counsel and assist on Veteran and Military issues. Prior to being sworn in as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Bowman served as Majority Staff Director of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. From 2012 to 2014, he served as Special Assistant for Veterans Research at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and from 2009 to 2012 he served as Senior Advisor to the Director of VA’s Sunshine Healthcare Network serving Veterans in Florida, Southeastern Georgia, and the Caribbean. Mr. Bowman’s previous appointments within VA were Chief of Staff of VA, Deputy Chief of Staff of VA, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Acting Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Before joining VA in 2002, Mr. Bowman served as Senior Counsel to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Mr. Bowman was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps through the NROTC Program at the University of Texas in 1969. From 1970 through 1975, he served as a platoon commander, company commander, and battalion, regimental, and division staff officer with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Marine Divisions in Southeast Asia, Okinawa, and the U.S. After law school, he was assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., where he served as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and Law Center Director. He then served as the Marine Corps Representative and Instructor of Law at the Naval Justice School and a guest lecturer at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., from 1983 to 1988. Mr. Bowman left active duty in 1988 to become an assistant district attorney in southeastern Massachusetts but was recalled to active duty during the Gulf War. Released in May 1991, he practiced law concentrating in military and Veterans issues before returning again to active duty in 1994. He retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel in October 1999, after serving as Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Secretary Bowman is a member of the Board of Directors for The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV).
Rear Adm. (ret) Stanley D. Bozin, a native of Union, N.J., graduated from Rutgers College of Engineering at New Brunswick, N.J., in 1974 with a bachelor of science degree in Industrial Engineering. He received his commission in November of 1974 through the Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate Program and was designated a Naval Aviator in December 1975. He is a 1986 graduate of the Naval Post Graduate School, earning a master of science degree in Financial Management.
Most recently, General Diehl served as Deputy Director of Engagement, Plans and Policy Directorate, Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. As Deputy Director, General Diehl was responsible for building and maintaining military-to-military bilateral relationships with 22 countries in the command's area of responsibility. Additionally, he was responsible for the guidance and sustainment of more than 70 Coalition nations supporting the United States in fighting the global war on terrorism. General Diehl received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1975. A command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours in the C-130, KC-135 and C-141, he commanded the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill AFB, and the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB, Washington.
Representative Duggan is an attorney and shareholder with the Rogers Towers Law Firm in Jacksonville. He is a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors and former Chair of the Firm’s Governmental and Regulatory Law Department. Representative Duggan was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018 and reelected in 2020 and represents the southwestern portion of Duval County, District 15. He currently serves as Chairman of the House Civil Justice and Property Rights Subcommittee. Additionally, he serves on the House Judiciary, Ways and Means and Public Integrity and Elections committees as well as the State Administration and Technology Appropriations subcommittee.
The Adjutant General of Florida
Major General James O. Eifert, The Adjutant General of Florida, is the Governor’s senior military advisor and serves as director of a state agency, the Florida Department of Military Affairs. As Adjutant General, he is responsible for the training and operations of the Florida National Guard, which is comprised of approximately 12,000 Soldiers and Airmen. He previously served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
Maj. Gen. Richard S. "Beef' Haddad is Vice Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He is responsible for the daily operations of the command, consisting of approximately 70,000 Citizen Airmen and more than 300 aircraft among three numbered air forces, 33 flying wings, 10 flying groups and one space wing. General Haddad was commissioned through the U.S. Air Force Academy and entered active duty in 1981. He has served in a variety of flying and command positions during his career in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve. He has hundreds of hours of combat flying time in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Desert Storm.
Colonel Jim Heald is the Vice President, Strategic Programs at InDyne. He is the technical expert for Test and Evaluation and Major Range and Test Facilities Base activities. He is the former General Manager, responsible for execution of the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of the Eglin Test and Training Complex (ETTC) under Contract FA9200-05-C-0001, a $972+M value. He led 800+ people supporting the Eglin ranges and operating locations at Cape San Blas, FL, and Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Past Chair of Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County. Past Chair of Defense Support Initiative chartered by Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County. Past Chair of Niceville-Valparaiso Military Affairs Committee and Chamber of Commerce. Life Member Senior Executives Association and USAFA Association of Graduates; Member Air Force Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Keith Hoskins is Senior Vice President of Greater Pensacola for Navy Federal Credit Union. He is responsible for leading the day-to-day operations of over 8,300 team members located on the Brian L. McDonnell campus in Pensacola, Florida. Keith joined the Navy Federal team in April of 2019. Prior to his current leadership role, he was the Western District General Manager/Military Affairs Manager for Gulf Power Company, overseeing and directing all operations for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Keith served 27 distinguished years in the United States Navy, retiring at the rank of Captain.
In 2019/2020, the Task Force awarded $1,447,400 in grants to recipients for improvement projects, including Clay County Development Authority, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Military Child Education Coalition, Florida Department of Military Affairs, Bay County Board of County Commissioners and City of Jacksonville Military Affairs and Veterans Department. In 2020/2021, the Task Force awarded $1,250,000 in grants to recipients including Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners, Clay County, Polk County Board of County Commissioners, Orlando Economic Partnership and South Florida Progress Foundation. To apply for a grant, fill out the Grant Funding Application. Click here to view Funding, Contracts and RFPs from the Florida Defense Support Task Force.
The Florida Defense Support Task Force knows that the military is only as strong as the people within it, so it provides state support for military families and veterans with a focus on education, health care, employment and family programs.