AEDC issues report showing military operations support 62,400 Arkansas jobs

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 296 views 

Analysis of five military installations suggests the operations contribute $4.5 million in gross state product, according to a report released Wednesday (April 26) by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC).

The report is part of analysis conducted by Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Military Affairs Committee. Formed in September 2015, the committee of public and private leaders from around the state, led by Nabholz Construction Services President Brad Hegeman, developed an economic impact analysis of the five military installations throughout Arkansas.

The analysis found the five installations have the following effect on the state’s economy:
• 62,400 total jobs supported (21,000 directly employed at an installation. 41,400 direct/induced jobs);
• $3 billion in total labor income;
• $4.5 billion in gross state product; and
• $330 million in tax revenue.

The report also ranked Arkansas counties by defense expenditures based on fiscal year 2015 spending. The top five were Pulaski ($470 million), Jefferson ($63 million), Garland ($40 million), Sebastian ($29 million), and Benton ($21 million).

“Gov. Hutchinson recognizes the importance of Arkansas’ military installations as significant drivers in the state’s economy,” Mike Preston, AEDC executive director, said in the statement. “Through a strong partnership between the Governor’s office, AEDC and Arkansas’ congressional delegation, we will work together to maintain and grow these locations throughout the state.”

The analysis, conducted over several months, included site visits at each of the state’s five military installations (Little Rock Air Force Base, Camp Robinson/Camp Pike near North Little Rock, Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, Pine Bluff Arsenal, and Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center near Fort Smith). The impact analysis includes 17 areas for the Military Affairs Steering Committee and other stakeholders to address that support strategic objectives.

Specific recommendations include:
• Capitalize on expanded National Guard training opportunity and emergency management operations at Camp Robinson;

• Promote the Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center as a premier training location for active, guard and special operations missions;

• Analyze a high-level partnership opportunity between the Department of Defense and the state to map out a long-term redevelopment program for the Pine Bluff Arsenal; and

• Improve Arkansas military family opportunities by refining K-12 education for military members and their families, and consider if employment opportunities for spouses can/should be expanded.

Col. Gary Holland was announced as AEDC’s Director of Military Affairs in December 2016. The position was created as a result of Gov. Hutchinson’s focus on supporting and growing the state’s military installations.

“Through the findings and recommendations from this study, we now have a clear vision for our next steps,” said Col. Holland. “I look forward to working diligently with our team to create new opportunities for those who serve.”

Members of the Military Affairs Committee are:
• Larry Wilson – Jacksonville, Ark.
• Lou Ann Nisbett – Pine Bluff
• Tim Allen – Fort Smith
• Mike Preston – Little Rock
• Danny Games – Little Rock
• Ken Griffin – Van Buren
• Major General (Retired) Bill Wofford – Conway
• Brad Hegeman – Conway
• Lt. Governor Tim Griffin – Little Rock
• Steve Eggensperger – Little Rock

The full study can be found at this link.