Two-dozen leaders representing local government, the military, veterans service organizations, business, and industry have established the Upstate Advisory Council to the South Carolina Military Base Task Force. This council will be the eyes and ears for the challenges and opportunities facing our military and defense industries. The Upstate Advisory Council joins MBTF representation from Beaufort, Charleston, Columbia, and Sumter.
Even though there aren’t bases in the Upstate doesn’t mean that there isn’t a significant military presence. The annual economic impact is $2.2 billion. Military and defense-related activity in the Upstate includes:
- Army Aviation Support Facilities (AASF) at the SC Technology and Aviation Center in Greenville, supporting a contingent of CH-47F Chinook helicopters and UH-72A Lakota helicopters.
- SC National Guard’s 263rd Army Air Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) in Anderson, SC, commanded by a Major General and responsible for aerospace security over the national capitol region around Washington, DC.
- The 228th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade (TTSB) located in Spartanburg, the largest theater tactical signal brigade of the US military’s reserve component.
- Lockheed Martin, which already has a significant presence in Greenville and Beaufort, which is moving its F-16 production to Greenville, bringing 170 new, high skilled jobs. Lockheed Martin has also chosen Greenville to assemble and test its new T-50A jet trainer if it wins the Air Force contract. That decision, expected by the end of 2018, would result in an additional 250 jobs.
- Numerous manufacturers whose products are essential to the military.
- Veterans and military retirees and locally-based veterans service organizations.
“Because the MBTF is charged with coordinating efforts among the public and private sectors to maintain a significant defense presence in the state, it is important that we include the upstate region’s leadership on the task force,” said Bill Bethea, Chairman. “South Carolina’s strategic importance to our nation’s defense comes from a combination of our military installations and the defense contractors. We have the 10th largest concentration of DoD personnel and the 9th largest population of military veterans in the nation. The $24.1 billion impact represents a significant sector of our state’s economy.
“It’s the combined efforts of the military communities in South Carolina that contribute to our reputation as the most military friendly state. The inclusion of the upstate in our mission ensures that we will continue to have a strong network to ensure we are proactive in meeting our military and defense needs.”