Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Efforts to build a high-tech defense industry cluster in North Carolina moves closer to reality on Wednesday in Fayetteville.

The Partnership for Defense Innovation (PDI) breaks ground today for a new research and development lab in the All American Military Business Park. The facility will cover some 10,000 square feet.

Fayetteville is already home to the , a business incubator designed to help companies transition military technology to the private sector and also develop new tools for the military. The PDI also operates offices in Raleigh, Charlotte and Cullowhee.

Among the better known projects at the DSTA is a research program for WiMax communications technology.

PDI works particularly closely with nearby Fort Bragg, home of the XVIII Airborne Corps, and the U.S. Special Operations Command.

In January, PDI secured $2.8 million from the federal government for the testing and validation of a new Tactical Psychological Operations Situational Awareness Systems. Army psychological operations, or PSYOPS for short, has a major presence at Fort Bragg with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command.

The new system is intended to enable PSYOPS forces to better assimilate and use real-time information during an operation or combat. Data to be shared includes imagery and intelligence.

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