The Association of Defense Communities’ Regional Events Series kicked off its 4th Annual California Defense Leadership Summit yesterday with a keynote address by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to community and industry leaders gathered to gain the latest on state, DOD and Capitol Hill developments, and their impacts across California.
The Sacramento-based event, hosted by the California Governor’s Military Council, is an opportunity for leaders on both sides of the installation line to partner for solutions and ensure that their communities remain resilient and ready to support the needs of their local installations.
The Summit convenes the commanding officers of each of California’s military bases as well as local leaders of community-based support organizations across the state. It presents a unique opportunity for local leaders to hear from other nearby community leaders facing similar challenges and share best practices.
The defense leadership summit features a number of keynote sessions and speakers including Gov. Newsom, California Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D), and Lucian Niemeyer, Acting Assistant Navy Secretary for Energy, Installations and Environment.
Featured sessions have included: Education and Workforce Development in the California Defense Industry; Best Practices on Military-Civilian Support Organization Collaboration; Opportunities in Military Housing; and Emerging Themes of Military Value.
In his keynote address, Gov. Newsom stressed the close relationships between military installations and their surrounding communities by revisiting the historical importance of the defense industry in fueling California’s powerful economy.
He emphasized the economic advantage of nurturing a strong defense base saying, “the middle class of California was built on supporting the defense industry, such as aerospace” which helped secure thousands of good-paying jobs and became a primary driver of growth in communities.
Newsom also highlighted the importance of valuing California’s installations as he recalled growing up in San Francisco and seeing installations like The Presidio and Treasure Island close down. “We stopped investing in our lead, but BRAC was a wake up-call,” he stressed to the leaders.
More than 30 major defense installations are located in California, incorporating all military services, topping more than double of any other state, according to a Governor’s Office news release. Each has important military value, delivering critical contributions to national security. California’s defense industry is known for superior technology, critical facilities for joint training and operations, and delivery of effective and efficient force projection in the future.