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Leaders Wondering How to Tap the Potential of Ft. Drum’s Military Families, Retirees

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  • February 21, 2012
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The loss of Fort Drum in a future BRAC round would be devastating to the North Country economy of New York, resulting in “the end of life as we know it,” according to a column in the Watertown Daily Times.

Not so clear are what steps the area can take to leverage Fort Drum’s economic assets, assuming the post — along with its current population of 24,000 soldiers and civilian workers — survives, writes Greg Gardner, associate professor of business at the State University of New York at Potsdam. One study that looked at that question identified more than a dozen industries leaders should target for growth, but to date, only the construction sector has shown any promise.

The supply of human capital from military families and retirees should be a valuable source of economic growth, but the region has not yet taken advantage of it. “Nor have we developed any methods of using the post to leverage the development of a regional defense sector, although not for want of trying,” Gardner writes.

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