During a recent visit to Pulaski County - home of Fort Leonard Wood - Gov. Jay Nixon announced a coordinated effort between the state and local communities and businesses to retain and enhance Missouri's military bases, force strength and federal defense spending.
The Governor announced he was creating the Missouri Military Partnership by executive order to protect, retain and enhance Department of Defense activities in the state. Gov. Nixon has appointed Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel to lead the partnership, which will include gathering input from local communities.
The Governor cited the vital economic impact - estimated at well over $3 billion - and community impact of the bases, not only on military employment but on civilian support personnel, businesses, local schools and neighborhoods. Total U.S. Department of Defense spending in Missouri is estimated at almost $15 billion, according to a study funded in part by the state.
"Missouri's military bases and service members are not only vital to this nation's safety and security, they put billions of dollars into the state's economy, create jobs, fuel local businesses and are essential parts of their local communities," Gov. Nixon said. "Recognizing the crucial importance of military facilities to the future of Missouri, we will continue to work with local community leaders, businesses and our active and retired military families to retain and enhance the military footprint in the Show-Me State. By providing the U.S. military with the full picture of Missouri's advantages, we will compete to win."
"As Treasurer I see firsthand the military's impact on Missouri's economy and look forward to creating long-term solutions that ensure our leaders in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C. understand the important role our state plays in national security,"Treasurer Zweifel said. "There is no doubt we face a changing budgetary climate, but Missouri's continued dedication to excellence and cost effectiveness must not be overlooked. I am committed to working with local and state officials, the business community and our military families to make sure Missouri's invaluable advantages are recognized. I thank Gov. Nixon for the opportunity to serve in this important mission for Missouri's future."
The Governor said the state has helped fund an in-depth economic impact study of the impact of Missouri National Guard, Whiteman Air Force Base, Fort Leonard Woodand all U.S. Department of Defense spending in Missouri. According to the study, the Department of Defense spends about $14.9 billion annually in Missouri to operate all military installations, pay personnel, and purchase goods and services from private firms, including defense contractors. That spending support approximately 275,000 direct and indirect jobs and has a total direct and indirect economic impact of more than $39 billion.
The study shows that statewide the Missouri National Guard supports approximately 18,250 direct and indirect jobs, and its payroll, expenditures and indirect impact is more than $943 million. Whiteman supports about 10,850 direct and indirect jobs, and its payroll, expenditures and indirect economic impact is more than $600 million annually. Fort Leonard Wood supports more than 36,400 direct and indirect jobs, and its payroll, expenditures and indirect impact is more than $2 billion.
Gov. Nixon said his administration is committed to working closely with legislators from the affected communities, and that Missouri's advantages include an outstanding workforce, low cost of living, low energy costs, low training costs, low land costs, expansion opportunities, existing infrastructure and low building costs.
The executive order directs the Missouri Military Partnership to prepare a report to the Governor by March 31 detailing the state's collective strategy to protect, retain and enhance Missouri's defense installations and their positive impacts.