The area’s 22,400 military personnel stationed at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield serve as an economic stabilizer, typically muting the effect of economic downturns. While elements of the region’s military complex have been deployed numerous times in recent years, the economic challenges accompanying the deployments have been more subdued in recent years as the proportion of military family members staying in the area through the deployment periods.
The military facilities also provide employment to approximately 3,800 federal civilian employees. Although the defense industry is a top economic driver for our area, pressure on the federal government and the defense budgets contributed to a moderate reduction in troop and civilian employment in 2015. However, while reductions have been made over the last year, payroll for military and civilian workers currently remains around $1.4 billion.
In addition to a solid employment base, Ft. Stewart/HAAF is incredibly well positioned with great assets like geographical location to major rail hubs and sea ports which allow for rapid deployment maneuvers, state of the art and cost-efficient training spaces, very little to no environmental encroachment issues, available land space to accommodate additional troops and updated energy efficient infrastructure.
Despite any uncertainties that may occur at the national level, one thing that is certain is the Savannah Chamber’s commitment to remain vigilant in its efforts to protect our bases and preserve the community’s military value. In order to foster the relationships with our military leaders and provide the necessary support for our troops, the Chamber has an active Military Affairs Council. The Council serves at the call of the Chair, Dr. Bill Cathcart. The Council conducts quarterly meetings which include an annual Military Appreciation Luncheon to collectively honor our region’s heroes.