Military a Dominant Force in Georgia’s Economy

Cindy Morley

Monday, July 29th, 2019

To read all of InsiderAdvantge Georgia’s daily news, SUBSCRIBE HERE. *Subscription includes a complimentary subscription to JAMES Magazine.

Georgia is known for many things — peaches, peanuts, The Masters… but what about the military?

Many people are unaware of the impact the military plays on Georgia and its economy. Georgia has the fifth largest military population in America with an economic impact of over $28 billion yearly. The top five are California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

In fact, information provided by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead), a 20-year military veteran himself, shows that the Department of Defense is Georgia’s largest single employer — providing 150,000 jobs and indirectly employing a third of a million Georgians.

“One in 10 Georgians (nearly one million) are associated with the military –including 750,000 veterans– and Georgia ranks second highest in volunteers who serve in our armed forces– twice the national average,” said Belton.

“Many people are surprised when they learn the impact the military has on Georgia,” Belton added.

Georgia ranks as the second highest state in the nation in military recruits (doubling the national average), following only Florida.

The state is home to nine military bases. All of Georgia’s bases (except Dobbins) are located deep in rural Georgia, and according to Belton, many times they are the only economic engines left in those areas.

“As you can see, the loss of any of those bases would be catastrophic to an area where poverty is already high,” said Belton, “Georgia has the fifth highest rate, and is it felt the most in rural Georgia”

Both Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga, and Fort Gordon in Augusta account for over 79,000 jobs in their communities. Fort Benning has a reported $4.8 billion impact on the Columbus community yearly, and Fort Gordon has an impact of $2.4 billion a year.

According to information provided by Belton, Fort Stewart/Hunter in Hinesville Ga — just southwest of Savannah — has an annual impact of $5.2 billion. It employs 27,000 Warriors and accounts for over 68,000 total jobs.

That, Belton says, is why the creation of the Georgia House Military Affairs Working Group has become so important to the state. The commission was created three years ago by House Speaker David Ralston to ensure Georgia becomes the most military friendly state in the nation. Tomorrow we will look at many of the new laws created by Georgia Representatives and Senators to accomplish this goal.