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New Analysis Of Military’s Economic Impact On San Diego

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Aired 4/22/10

A new analysis of the economic impact of the military in San Diego shows defense spending generates an estimated 340,000 jobs in the region.

A new analysis of the economic impact of the military in San Diego shows defense spending generates an estimated 340,000 jobs in the region.

Admiral William French, commander of Navy Region Southwest, seen here speaking at the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) announcement of the latest report on the military's impact on San Diego's economy.
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Above: Admiral William French, commander of Navy Region Southwest, seen here speaking at the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) announcement of the latest report on the military's impact on San Diego's economy.

The study describes the military’s role in San Diego’s economy as similar to that of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, or the finance industry in New York.

The latest figures available -- from 2008 -- show the Defense Department spent $16 billion in San Diego, and generated 23 percent of all the jobs in the region.

UCSD graduates did the research, which was paid for by the San Diego Military Advisory Council, or SDMAC, a non-profit that advocates for military interests in San Diego.

Rear Admiral William French, commander of the Navy region southwest, says military spending in San Diego is only going to grow.

“In 2008 we had a total of 56 ships here,” French said. “In 2014 we’re going o have 86 ships home-ported in San Diego. So you have the ships, the infrastructure to support those ships, the sailors and all their families that live in San Diego.”

The report shows Defense Department spending in San Diego grew an average of more than 8 percent a year between 2004 and 2008, in stark contrast to the rest of the economy.

Tony Nufer, president of SDMAC, says the San Diego region is the focal point of the largest military operational research and training facilities in the world.

He does not believe San Diego is vulnerable to the boom and bust cycle that has characterized military spending in the past.

“Unlike some areas where the military is the sole focus of the economic support in that region, San Diego is a diverse region,” Nufer said. “I think we benefited from having the military here to stabilize those economic fluctuations.”

Defense spending includes salaries for 140,000 active duty military, benefits for 244,000 veterans, the construction of new barracks and defense contracts.

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