JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Second Annual First Coast Defense Expo is being held at Cecil Airport on Wednesday and Thursday.

The expo will connect local national defense contractors and companies that play a role in protecting our national security. It was considered a success last year, and at noon Wednesday doors open to the public.

This year more than 40 local and regional companies will display their goods and service at booths set up inside the jetport at Cecil Airport.

Companies like The Solid Experts Inc, L-3 Communications, the Fleet Readiness Center as well as dozens of others will be there.

Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville, will be speaking at the expo on Thursday. His office said he will discuss his work in Congress to support national security, and the companies central to that mission.

IMAGES: Expo ready for visitors

Crenshaw said many of these industrial defense companies are crucial to national security but are not well known.

“This is really a great opportunity for showcasing what we do in Northeast Florida that a lot of people don’t know about.,” said Crenshaw. “And that is doing the work that makes our America a strong and safe nation.”

Crenshaw believes the event highlights the importance of Jacksonville to the entire nation’s security.

“People know about Mayport, they know about NAS Jax. But they don’t know about the many companies that work to build the ships, to build the planes, to do the things that need to be done to make sure we have a strong, well-equipped military," said Crenshaw.

Crenshaw believes this expo is especially important during the government shutdown.

“I’m concerned that this issue of the sequester is actually hurting our ability to make America safe. So I think number one you’ve got to spend the dollars it takes because that’s the number one responsibility the federal government," said Crenshaw. "[The responsibility is] to protect American lives, and then we’ve got to work to see these companies grow prosper and do the things they need to do."

You can see a full list of exhibitors and sponsors as well as more information about how to attend on their website at fcdexpo.fl-dc.org.