Purdue President Mitch Daniels is NDIA’s 2019 Forrestal award recipient

Forrestal Award honoree, Purdue's Mitch Daniels

ARLINGTON, VA – Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University and a former Indiana governor who has served U.S. senators and presidents alike, is the 2019 James Forrestal Industry Leadership Award winner, the National Defense Industrial Association has announced.

Founded in 1954, the annual award is named for Forrestal, who served as secretary of the Navy and was the nation’s first secretary of defense. The award pays tribute to Forrestal’s leadership and outspoken advocacy for a robust and responsive defense industrial base during post-World War II demobilization. The award is bestowed on a person who best reflects Forrestal's vision, leadership and staunch support of a strong industrial base.

Daniels’ support of hypersonic study and research, which are vital to future national defense, and his efforts to advance engineering, technology and computer science studies at Purdue made him the perfect choice for the award, said retired Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, NDIA’s president and CEO.

“Daniels is an innovator for higher education in these areas of study, which are essential to this ‘new industrial base’ for the country’s future and our national security, as well as to a burgeoning industry in Indiana,” Carlisle said. “It’s been a great honor to work with him, to see his vision for these subjects in Purdue’s students and researchers and watch their efforts come to fruition.”

Purdue “is ready to establish itself as the ‘university hub’ of hypersonic research and development,” Daniels said at NDIA’s inaugural hypersonics event, held at the West Lafayette, Ind., campus in July.

Among the school’s efforts, Purdue is part of a team, led by the University of Dayton Research Institute, funded with a $9.8 million contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory for study into reusable hypersonic vehicles. Purdue has one of the nation’s most comprehensive hypersonics research programs, which includes navigation, aerodynamics, aerothermal effects, propulsion, autonomy, system engineering, high-temperature materials and manufacturing. The university is home to nearly 40 world-renowned hypersonics researchers.

Daniels also started Purdue Moves, addressing the biggest challenges facing higher education. Among those challenges are fostering “world-changing” research and STEM leadership and advancing research commercialization.

Before taking the helm at Purdue, Daniels served as the 49th governor of Indiana from 2005 to 2013. While in office, he created the state’s first Office of Management and Budget and turned around its budget from an $800 million deficit to its first-ever AAA credit rating. Daniels led Indiana to become a national leader in infrastructure building and greatly reformed health care and education in the state.

Before his election in 2005, Daniels was chief of staff to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), a senior adviser to President Ronald Reagan and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. He also was CEO of the Hudson Institute and held several top posts at Eli Lilly and Company, including president of its North American pharmaceutical operations.

Daniels will receive the award during NDIA’s 100th Anniversary Celebration dinner, Oct. 30 at the Ritz-Carlton in Arlington, Va. For information, visit NDIA.org or contact Evamarie Socha, NDIA communications director, esocha@ndia.org

About NDIA

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America's leading defense industry association promoting national security. NDIA provides a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. NDIA and its members foster the development of the most innovative and superior equipment, training, and support for warfighters and first responders through its divisions, local chapters, affiliated associations, and events. For more information, visit NDIA.org