Thursday, September 4, 2014

WA Formalizes State-wide Military Alliance

Governor Jay Inslee’s official kick off of the Washington Military Alliance (WMA) marks an important victory for Washington’s military service members and families. While the WMA has existed for several years, today’s signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by the Governor and key stakeholders across the state formalizes the WMA’s role.

The WMA is an alliance of business and community leaders, state legislators and agencies, and local elected officials formed to protect military and defense infrastructure and industry vitality and build and maintain military and defense partnerships statewide.  It’s being convened by the Governor and the entire Washington State Congressional Delegation.

Gov. Jay Inslee was joined by more than 20 military and economic develop- ment leaders for the launch of the Washington Military Alliance, a diverse group of military and defense stakeholders representing industry, infrastructure, veteran, workforce and economic development interests across the state. The governor is asking WMA to help the state prepare for the impacts of U.S. Department of Defense reductions in military assets.

“The military and defense sector is an economic backbone for many Washington communities and a priority industry sector for economic development statewide,” Gov. 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.”

The WMA will provide a forum for collaboration in the state among local governments, military installations, state agencies and federal agencies.  It will serve as a policy adviser to the governor, other state agencies, the Legislature and others. “We welcome (Gov. Inslee’s) personal commitment to represent Washington at the gubernatorial level to engage on how issues of national defense play out within the fifty states.  For example, we sincerely appreciate your administration’s response to the recent Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment,” said John Caulfield, Chair, Executive Leadership Team, South Sound Military & Communities Partnership. 

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 action. Gov. Inslee reconvened the group to ensure the state’s ongoing response and preparation during DOD deliberations.

“With 10 military-related installations, thousands of military and defense works, and over 1,500 companies supporting defense work in our communities across the state, it is now more important than ever that the state come together to develop a strong strategy to protect the infrastructure, promote the industry and support workforce development that keeps our economy strong and shows Washington as the strong partner to DOD it is,” said John Powers, executive director of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance.

“One core tenet of our statewide economic development and competitiveness strategy focuses on developing opportunities in key industry sectors. Standing up the WMA replicates an approach to industry collaboration that has been extremely successful in aerospace, with the Washington Aerospace Partnership. These effective public-private partnerships are necessary to ensure that Washington is highly competitive for the jobs today and well into the future,” said state Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

“With such diverse military industry, missions, needs and opportunities, and a different stakeholder group for every aspect of an issue related to the military and defense community, it was important to the governor and the federal congressional delegation to convene a group of diverse military community stakeholders to come together with one voice in response to potential cuts to defense spending,” said Rich Hadley, president emeritus of Greater Spokane Incorporated.

The WMA will provide a forum for collaboration in the state among local governments, military installations, state agencies and federal agencies. It will serve as a policy adviser to the governor, other state agencies, the Legislature and others.  “Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) is 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 Tom Pierson, Pres./CEO, Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber. “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 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.  

Facebook: WAMilitaryAlliance
Twitter: @WAMilAffairs

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