San Diego Should Remain Vital In World Of Shrinking Military Budgets
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Aired 2/12/14 on KPBS News.
A prominent Navy official says San Diego should continue to have a strong military presence and that means the region's economy likely will benefit.
The admiral in charge of the nation's Pacific Fleet says San Diego will continue to be an important military town, even though military budgets are expected to continue shrinking.
A recent study of the military's economic impact found San Diego's military and defense cluster funnels $24.6 billion in direct defense spending into the local economy. That same report concluded nearly one in five local jobs is linked to the military.
That's why shrinking defense budgets are such a concern here.
Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Harry Harris was in town to speak at West 2014, the West Coast's largest trade show for military contractors. Harris said a military strategic shift by the Navy will help insure the region continues to be important.
"Today just about half of the Navy is in the Pacific," Harris said. "By 2020, that'll be about 60 percent. So 60 percent of our Navy ships will be in the Pacific and San Diego will certainly always be a part of that."
San Diego is also important to the military because of the concentration of defense contractors here.