Fairfax County EDA hosts Israeli defense and technology delegation

Fairfax County, Virginia, February 5, 2020 – With the focus on fostering potential technology collaboration opportunities between Israeli defense manufacturing companies and U.S. companies, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) and the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB) presented a conference at FCEDA headquarters on February 3, 2020.

At the invitation of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, the International Defense Cooperation Directorate of the Israel Ministry of Defense (SIBAT) brought the delegation of 17 Israeli companies to visit Virginia to explore collaboration and investments in the local economy.

Victor Hoskins, president and CEO, FCEDA addressing the “Israel-Virginia Technology Innovation and Collaboration” conference. (Photos, FCEDA)

Officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army, Israeli Ministry of Defense; and corporate executives from U.S. and Israeli defense contracting companies presented at the “Israel-Virginia Technology Innovation and Collaboration” conference. Israeli companies in representation at the conference included: Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, RT Aerostat Systems, MAGAM Safety, Coluga, and others. Click here to see the list of companies.

With nearly 100 people in attendance, the conference focused on the latest trends in the U.S. and in Israel in defense, aerospace, homeland security, border and infrastructure protection, and marine and land tactical surveillance. In addition, one-on-one business-to-business meetings were held for the Israeli companies to pitch their technological innovations to establish potential business opportunities with the U.S. companies. The Israeli companies are seeking to establish partnerships with U.S. companies to gain contacts with DOD, DHS, and other federal agencies.

left to right: Asher Kotz, business investment manager, Cybersecurity and Israel, FCEDA; Dov Hoch, executive director, Virginia Israel Advisory Board; Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force; Megan Mahle, director of industry partnerships, Security Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Eliad Peretz, NASA; Jan Mul, director of international business investment, FCEDA.

Welcoming remarks at the event were delivered by Victor Hoskins, president and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority; Dov Hoch, executive director, Virginia Israel Advisory Board; and Paul Friedberg, principal deputy director, SIBAT, Ministry of Defense, State of Israel.

“Fairfax County EDA is here to assist global companies establish business opportunities and a base of operations in Northern Virginia,” Hoskins said. “More than 430 foreign-owned companies are located in Fairfax County, including more the 30 Israeli-owned companies, because it’s an ideal location for a U.S. footprint. The Northern Virginia region, and state of Virginia, collaboratively work together to help companies expand their global reach.”

Speakers at the conference emphasized possible collaboration in technological development and training between the Israeli and U.S. companies. One of the key points was that U.S. defense contractors do not need to invest in developing technology that already exists and are therefore open to establishing commercial partnerships.

“Throughout all my travels as Secretary of the Air Force, I found no closer partner than Israel—politically, economically and militarily, said Deborah Lee James, the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force between 2013-17, who spoke at the conference. “We can learn a great deal from one another, with technology collaboration and speed to innovate at the top of the list. There’s never been a better time for Israeli companies to partner with U.S. companies to capture important DOD work.”

The Israeli delegation at the Fairfax County McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center.

With an emphasis on future innovation, speakers presented on artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things (IOT), avionics and naval technologies–and more.

Eliad Peretz, a NASA official, for example, delivered a presentation on the agency’s technology roadmap for future development focused in a range of areas, from propulsion systems to autonomous robotics, and from sensors to human health and life support.

Israeli defense company delegation at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Following the conference the Israeli delegation attended a reception at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The group also visited the Fairfax County McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center  to attend a briefing on the technologies employed at the facility. Members of the delegation presented on their companies’ innovative technology solutions for law enforcement, public safety and emergency responder management.

Later, the delegation visited Richmond, Va., to meet with government and state agency officials, and to Hampton, Va., to tour the Hampton Roads Commonwealth Center of Autonomous Systems.

Since 2005 the FCEDA has had an office in Tel Aviv to work with Israeli companies interested in locating to or expanding in the U.S. More than 30 Israeli companies have a presence in Fairfax County. International companies choose Fairfax County for a U.S. location because of the large technology cluster, private- and public-sector customers, a diverse and cosmopolitan community, and a location between Washington, D.C., and Washington Dulles International Airport.

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as a business and technology center. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains business investment offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore/Mumbai, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Follow the FCEDA on FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter and YouTube.

The FCEDA is a member of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, which promotes and markets Northern Virginia outside the region. Other members of NOVA EDA are the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park and the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.