Report shows military’s heavy impact on San Diego’s economy

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Military Advisory Council, or SDMAC, released its annual report on the military’s impact on San Diego, and it confirmed once again that the military is a vital part of our region’s economy.

The report also shows San Diego plays a critical role in maintaining our nation’s military readiness.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, a San Diegan, said one of her goals as speaker is to tell the San Diego story.

“And to insure that the rest of California understands who we are, and what we contribute to our state, and to our nation,” said Atkins.

The San Diego story is embedded in the military.

Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge says combined with the Marines and Navy, San Diego is home to the largest military presence in the world.

“This is where the pacific fleet begins, and it is the most critical piece of our nation’s defense,” said Lorge.

One of every four Marines is based in San Diego, and San Diego has a third of the Marine’s combat power. They are here to stay.

“The infrastructure in the region to support the marines from base to facilities, to easily accessible training ranges are impossible to duplicate anywhere else in the nation. The marine corps has invested significantly in this region for the long haul,” said Lorge. 

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the presence of the Military in San Diego gives the city a competitive advantage.

“That’s an advantage we will continue to promote, that’s an advantage that we will continue to fight for, and that’s an advantage is a driver, obviously a leader, for our economic well being,” said the mayor.

The report by Dr. Lynn Reaser of Point Loma Nazarene University’s Business School backs up the mayor’s statement.

Dr. Reaser said the numbers are bigger than last year despite the cuts from sequestration because veterans benefits, educational training, tourism, and spending on research and development have been added.

“The biggest impact has been in gross regional product that’s up about 7-billion dollars from the number we had last year,” said Dr. Reaser.

$25.2 billion in direct defense related dollars will come to San Diego in 2014, and if one adds the ripple affects, that number jumps to $38.7 billion.

Maintenance and training were deferred with sequestration cuts to begin again in 2016.

As spending levels off, Congress will have to balance defense cuts with an expanded presence in the Middle East.

“We hope that in the next Congress that it’s a little more productive so, we’ve made some progress but still a long way to go,” said Peters.

It will be a big challenge to re-balance defense cuts with the new challenges coming from the Middle East.

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