ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal announced Wednesday a comprehensive assessment of economic development opportunities at Georgia’s military base establishments and their surrounding communities as part of his ongoing effort to grow Georgia’s economy through job creation. The new Governor’s Defense Initiative will be operated through the Georgia Department of Economic Development and spearheaded by William L. Ball, former U.S. secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. T. Rogers Wade, former president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, will be executive director of the new initiative.
“Georgia’s dynamic military community is a fountainhead of economic activity and skilled talent for the state,” said Deal. “We are very fortunate that someone like Will, with deep roots in the defense industry, will be guiding this long-term strategy to prepare for any future Base Closure Realignment Commission examinations and ensure such a critical industry sector remains a healthy pillar of Georgia’s economy.”
The Governor’s Defense Initiative is a multi-year partnership that includes the Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee, an arm of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, which will collaborate with the initiative’s leadership in forging connections and sharing information with Georgia’s communities and local base defense groups. Additional partners in the initiative will be announced in the coming weeks. Deal has met with Georgia’s military base commanders and will continue to seek their counsel in strategies that help the defense presence in the state continue to thrive and produce jobs. The Initiative will remain in close communications with Georgia’s congressional delegation.
Georgia’s military presence includes Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, Fort Benning, two more Army bases, two Air Force bases and a Navy base. The state ranks among the top five in the nation. These installations together generate approximately $20 billion in economic impact, including salaries, contracts and revenue generated.