Defense Industry, Military Add $95 Billion to Florida’s Economy, New Report Shows

The military and the defense industry add $95 billion to the Sunshine State according to a new study.

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis released the “2020 Florida Military and Defense Economic Impact Study” which was commissioned by Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) and the Florida Defense Support Task Force (FDSTF).

“The results mark a $10 billion increase from the 2017 study, making military and defense one of the state’s top economic drivers. The defense sector also provides 914,787 jobs in Florida, an increase of 113,040 jobs during the past two years,” the governor’s office noted.

“The results of this study demonstrate that maintaining and protecting military bases and industry in Florida is a win-win for both Florida and the United States,” said DeSantis. “Florida offers unmatched conditions for training air and sea forces with access to some of the highest quality test and training ranges in the country. Florida’s military and defense industry has never been more vital to the economic success of our state.”

“Today’s announcement is great news for Florida,” said Florida Commerce Sec. Jamal Sowell, the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Enterprise Florida and the Florida Defense Support Task Force will continue to maintain Florida’s reputation as the most military-friendly state in the nation by strengthening our state’s support for military members and their families and ensuring our bases remain resilient.”

According to the report, the defense sector has the greatest impact on Northwest Florida with the study showing one-third of the region’s economy relies on the defense industry and the military. Other parts of the state are also boosted by the defense industry with the governor’s office noting that “defense manufacturing has nearly doubled since 2015 with the aerospace and engineering sectors centered in Brevard and Orange Counties leading the way.”

The governor’s office also highlighted the important role military retirees and veterans play in the Sunshine State.

“Florida boasts the second-largest military retiree population and the third-largest veteran population of all 50 states. Florida also receives the fourth-largest sum of defense contracts among all states and ranks fifth in the country in the number of military personnel,” the governor’s office noted.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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