Thursday, September 4, 2014

Chamber Supports Washington Military Alliance

Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO, joined Governor Jay Inslee and more than 20 military and economic development leaders for the launch of the Washington Military Alliance (WMA), a diverse group of military and defense stakeholders representing industry, infrastructure, veteran, workforce and economic development interests across the state.

“The military and defense sector is an economic backbone for many Washington communities and a priority industry sector for economic development statewide,” Governor Inslee said. “As the DOD reduces military assets around the country, we want to make sure our communities and our military personnel are prepared and ready. By planning ahead, we can make sure Washington remains in a strong position to support our military and defense infrastructure, its diverse industry supply chain and the tens of thousands of jobs associated with this industry.”

“With Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) the major economic impact in Pierce County and the largest single-employer worksite in Washington State, our community recognizes the necessity of state leadership in sustaining the installation’s military mission,” said Pierson. “The state can help local efforts to chart a course through the challenges ahead and to take advantage of the inevitable opportunities that occur with anticipated changes,” he concluded.

In 2012, Washington’s military industry accounted for 136,000 jobs and $15.7 billion in economic activity. Washington is the sixth most military populous in the nation with personnel at bases and assets all throughout the state. The industry supports military personnel as well as civilian jobs in cybersecurity, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, clean technology, and information and communications technology. 

The WMA will provide a forum for collaboration in the state between local governments, military installations, state agencies, and federal agencies. It will serve as a policy advisor to the governor, other state agencies, the Legislature, and others. Inslee signed a memorandum of understanding with more than 20 military, business and economic development organizations from every corner of the state.

The group was originally convened to collaborate on production of the Washington Military Alliance Report, which identified impacts to Washington’s military and defense infrastructure and develop initial recommendations in response to a possible Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) action.

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