Support for Our Military Community
Military Economic Impact: Hawaii impacts now and in the future
Military activity in Hawaii is a major component of our economy vitality, second only to tourism in providing jobs, investment and income as part of the gross state product. The military presence has deep historical roots, adds to the overall security of the state and our nation, and continues to find popular support among the residents of Hawaii. Support for our deployed troops, Active, Reserve and National Guard remains a priority.
With the ascendancy of Asia as the center of gravity for U.S. economic and security interests, strategic positioning of armed forces in Hawaii takes on even greater importance. As military forces transform to meet new requirements, each of the Armed Services in Hawaii must also respond to the changing needs of national defense policy. It is essential that Hawaii remain as a desired duty station for military personnel and the achievement of excellent community relations is a vital part of that assignment attraction.
The value of the economic contribution of the military presence will only be maintained if the perceived quality of life for military personnel and families remains high, including full integration into our island community. The military and retired service personnel also want to make a contribution to the community and, indeed, already do so in many ways. Military spouses and retirees arrive here with training and experience in shortage fields such as teaching and health care; they bring talent and energy to both the workplace and our society. Infusions of military dollars help to support Hawaii’s high-tech and R&D industries. The military already serves our community in such areas as firefighting and medical evacuation; the military presence would be a welcome source of support and disaster relief in the event of a catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina.
These key challenges need to be addressed to make Hawaii a desirable and desired military assignment. There needs to be:
Education – Both the perception and the reality that there is a quality public education system here for military families.
Training – Adequate training areas so that troops can prepare for future missions.
Housing – Sufficient affordable housing either on or off base for military families. Nearly all families can be housed on base today, but single military personnel need off-base quarters.
There must be a dynamic planning process, on a continuing basis, to identify the requirements of current and future growth and changes in force structure. The scope and scale of current and planned military needs must be determined in advance of implementation to ensure that potential impacts on historical and cultural areas, customs, shared infrastructure such as housing, schools, and transportation systems and operation of military training areas is approached in a systematic and reasoned fashion.