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Local officials react to CSRA purchase plans

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Local officials have pledged support for and been optimistic about internet technology giant CSRA’s purchased by defense contractor General Dynamics.

The company, whose Integrated Technology Center (ITC) is the anchor tenant of the National Cyber Research Park and owns the Customer Engagement Center, both in Bossier City, is being purchased for $9.6 billion.

“This is great news for CSRA and the Bossier City Shreveport area,” said Mimi Hedgcock, senior principal for external affairs with CSRA Integrated Technology Center. “For our employees, it offers access to career opportunities across a broad portfolio of customers and capabilities that brings us closer to the mission. This milestone confirms the value that our employees have created thorough their relentless commitment to our customers and the mission.”

General Dynamics spokesperson Lucy Ryan said CSRA’s employees are crucial to its success and one of the reasons for the purchase, noting it has plans to utilize the ITC.

“CSRA’s employees are a big part of the company’s success, and we are entering into this agreement because it is successful. We plan to take full advantage of CSRA’s Integrated Technology Center, located in Shreveport-Bossier City, as we integrate our companies,” she said.

Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker was very optimistic, saying the city is excited about the deal.

“We’re very pleased to see that combination of CSRA and General Dynamics. I understand General Dynamics is in Fortune 70 range. They are a leader in the industry, and I foresee good things are going to happen as a result of this change.”

The Trump administration’s increase in defense spending is being credited as a major reason for the move. President Donald Trump signed a budget bill last week that provides $700 billion for the Pentagon, a $94 billion increase.

“As the Trump Administration upgrades its investment in defense, it is prudent for a company like General Dynamics to acquire growing companies, like CSRA, in order to capture and grow that market, even in our community,” said David “Rocky” Rockett, president of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation.

Rockett pointed out that General Dynamics also has a presence in Bossier City, with an office on Jimmy Davis Highway.

“There is a lot to be seen and we stand by to help both CSRA and General Dynamics with its additional growth in Bossier,” he added.

The ITC was announced originally in February 2014. It was grown out of a public-private partnership spearheaded by Bossier City, Bossier Parish, and the Cyber Innovation Center in conjunction with the State of Louisiana and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) to offer an incentive package that would fund construction of the ITC and build necessary infrastructure.

Partnerships were formed between CSRA and local higher education institutions — like Louisiana Tech, Bossier Parish Community College, and Northwestern State University among others — to create a pipeline for qualified workers to staff the ITC and their customer engagement center.

“BPCC’s commitment to fulfilling industry needs remains strong,” said BPCC Chancellor Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr. “We will continue to focus on producing quality graduates and we will serve the needs of all employers in our region.” 

“While it’s early in the process, we can say that we consider CSRA a crucial partner for Louisiana Tech. We look forward to continuing our support of this partnership and this rapidly growing cyber area that is critical to the nation,” said Louisiana Tech President Dr. Les Guice.

“The enterprise and workforce that CSRA helped to establish in Bossier City should be beneficial for any company to maintain. Our pipeline that supports CSRA, as well as other companies in the region, will continue to be instrumental in drawing new businesses and new talent to the area,” he added.

Chairman and CEO of General Dynamics Phebe Novakovic said in a press release that the acquisition of CSRA represents a significant strategic step in expanding the capabilities and customer base of her company.

“We see substantial opportunities to provide cost-effective IT solutions and services to the Department of Defense, the intelligence community and federal civilian agencies.”

Larry Prior, CEO and president of CSRA, said, “Our combination with General Dynamics represents an excellent outcome for CSRA’s stockholders, employees and customers. It builds on strong shared values, culture and a passion for serving our customers’ missions. We believe that this combination creates a clear, differentiated leader in the Federal IT sector, with a full spectrum of enterprise IT capabilities, including unique depth in Next-Gen offerings in conjunction with our commercial IT alliance partners.”