UWF awarded $460,000 grant for development of military training program

The University of West Florida has been awarded a $460,000 grant by the Florida Defense Support Task Force to support the training efforts of the Florida Air National Guard and various military units based and operating in and around Florida.

UWF’s Office of Research Administration and Engagement will serve as administrative lead on the project, teaming with a group of military experts to develop a military training system and network that mixes virtual and real-world elements for realistic scenarios. In this role, UWF will oversee the execution of the project, manage and distribute grant funds, foster collaboration among participants, develop program guidelines and action plans and oversee project deliverables. 

Components of the training program will include surface, air and sea military operations for Florida-based unit operations on the Avon Park Air Force Range, a 106,000-acre military training facility in Central Florida that serves as training grounds for all military branches. The project will result in a proof of concept and demonstration of the Florida Advanced Training Range with possible future deployment to broader federal training operations.

“This project shows UWF’s commitment to strengthening military training and readiness in the state,” said Dr. Matthew Schwartz, associate vice president of research administration. “Such installations enhance the local, regional, and state economy by bringing new, skilled personnel to the state and attracting military contractors and other organizations to Florida.”

The Florida Defense Support Task Force was created in 2011 with the mission to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state’s position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, military families, veterans and businesses that bring military and defense-related jobs to the state. The task force funds projects that can be leveraged to promote, preserve or enhance military missions and installations in Florida. 

For more information about UWF’s Office of Research Administration and Engagement, visit