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Florida's Veteran Friendly State, Military & Defense Help Secure Florida's Future

Posted on July 21, 2014 in General News

When:  August 13, 2014 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Hyatt Regency Orlando, International Airport
Address: 9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd Orlando, FL 32827

Click here for the details and to register

Florida has a solid reputation for honoring those who have and continue to serve and protect our country. In fact, our reputation of loyalty and respect for veterans has helped make the Sunshine State one of the most veteran-friendly states in the country.

While Floridians are certainly grateful for the dedicated service of our military, our state's economy - bolstered by a strong military footprint - also benefits. In fact, every single business in Florida is within 100 miles of a military installation.

CONSIDER THE FACTS:

Florida's 20 military installations span from Pensacola to Jacksonville and down to Key West,
More than 85,000 military/civilian personnel and 750,000 jobs comprise the military and defense industry, and
The industry contributes more than $70 billion to our state's economy - more than nine percent of our total gross state product.

The very presence of military installations in Florida encourages defense contractors, like Lockheed Martin Corporation, Harris Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Craig Technologies, Boeing and others, to invest in Florida's workforce and its economy.  But last year, prime defense industry contract revenue entering Florida was $11.2 billion - that's a $3 billion decrease from 2010 - and it's primarily due to Washington, D.C. politics.

The military and defense industry is an important part of Florida's future prosperity, and defense industry cuts threaten the very fabric of our state's global competitiveness. To secure Florida's future, the Florida Chamber believes we must protect high-tech, high-wage defense industry jobs that employ a large population of Florida's veterans.  That's a sentiment shared by our partners at the Florida Defense Contractors Association.

"Our biggest challenge remains the unpredictable federal budget," said Joe Marino, President of the Florida Defense Contractors Association. "The drawdown of the wars, federal budget sequestration and funding via continuing resolutions for many years have created an unprecedented level of uncertainty. Defense businesses large to small are unable to create new jobs and sustain their sector of the economy in this uncertain environment, as evidenced in total procurement awards down to $11 billion from $14 billion in 2010 in Florida. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Florida businesses earn defense revenue as prime contractors or subcontractors, and all job creators in the state need to work together to address this challenge."

These challenges won't solve themselves. As troop withdrawals and other policy changes begin to impact Florida's military installations, personnel and veterans, we must consider the opportunities that exist to expand on the talent and technology built around this industry.

The future of Florida's military and defense industry depends on a united business voice and the Florida Chamber looks forward to standing side-by-side with our partners to call on state leaders to explore new opportunities for the industry.

Florida can and should do more to create long-term solutions that will strengthen our economy. I encourage you to join us on August 13, as the Florida Chamber Foundation hosts a Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit. Military and defense industry leaders, economic development experts, policy makers and the business community will tackle the challenges that lie ahead and work toward solutions.

While Washington may be stuck in neutral, Florida is on the move. We're showing the rest of the country how to create jobs and how to create more opportunities for Florida families.

Now it's time to secure Florida's military and defense industry future. Here are three ways you can help:

1.  Register today to attend the Military Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit.
2.  Sponsor this or future solutions summits by contacting Sal Nuzzo at (850) 521-1283.

3.  Get engaged; join our grassroots network by contacting Greg Blose at (850) 521-1243.


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