With all of its members appointed, the newly created Florida Defense Support Task Force is expected shortly to begin efforts to prepare the state for a future BRAC round, attract more R&D and other defense contracting expenditures to the state, and make the state more friendly for service members and their families.
When they established the task force, state legislators allocated $5 million to fund advocacy on behalf of Florida’s installations. The state is home to 21 military bases and missions, making defense Florida’s third-largest job producer. The state’s military presence brings $58 billion into its economy annually.
“The anticipated military drawdown planned by the Obama administration is likely to be substantially wider in scope as a result of federal budget deficit negotiations,” said State Sen. Don Gaetz, who sponsored the legislation. “California, Arizona and other states will be working overtime to move our missions west. While final decisions will be made in Washington, the state of Florida has to aggressively make the case for our jobs and our bases,” he said.
The panel’s 12 members will serve four-year terms ending in 2015. The group will report to the governor, Senate president, and speaker of the House.
Read the story in nwfdailynews.com.