New Study Finds that the Military Contributed $27.7 Billion to San Antonio's Economy

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Wow! A new 2011 study released by the City of San Antonio’s Economic Development Department and Office of Military Affairs found that the economic impact of the military’s jobs, investment and spending in San Antonio totals more than $27 billion and supports more than 189,000 jobs, directly and indirectly.

“As we get ready to celebrate Veteran’s Day, we recognize the dedication and commitment of all our veterans and thank their families for their many sacrifices,” said Mayor Julián Castro.  “The results of this study confirm just how critically important the military is to our economy and to our community, particularly in supporting growth in the SA2020 targeted industries of healthcare/biosciences, aerospace and information security.”

This study, completed by Dr. Steve Nivin of the SABER Institute, found that the Department of Defense accounts for over 132,000 direct jobs in San Antonio, with Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) operating as the largest single employer in the community employing more than 92,000.  This direct employment produces another 57,000 indirect and induced jobs for a total of 189,000 jobs contributing $19 billion of the $27 billion total military economic impact.

In addition, the Department of Defense awarded almost $4 billion in contracts to local businesses with $1.5 billion going toward SA2020 targeted industry companies. Local contracting accounts for $6.5 billion of the total military economic impact and more than 55,000 military retirees living in San Antonio account for another $2.2 billion of the impact.

“We have always known the military’s economic impact on our community was significant,” said City Manager Sheryl Sculley. “This study confirms what tremendous assets we have in our military bases and in all the companies that support their activities in San Antonio.”

A good measure of the economic impact activity can be attributed to the Department of Defense related job growth and investment resulting from the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).  Since 2005, the City of San Antonio has partnered with BexarCounty and the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce through the Military Transformation Task Force (MTTF) to assist the military and leverage BRAC to maximize opportunities in economic development, neighborhood revitalization, transportation, utility infrastructure and health care delivery.

For example, BRAC has resulted in establishing an internationally renowned teaching and research hospital; creating the world’s largest school for training military medical technicians graduating 47,000 annually; and attracting headquarters for Fifth Army, Sixth Army, Military Property Management and Military Health Care.

With the completion of BRAC 2005, this study assessed how the military has grown and captured the DoD’s economic impact to the community.  However, not all of the economic impact gain can be attributed to BRAC 2005.  Missions such as the Air Force’s Cyber Command—24th Air Force, moved to San Antonio during this time and provided hundreds of new jobs to the community. “The City of San Antonio, Bexar and surrounding counties have cultivated a remarkable relationship with Joint Base San Antonio.  It has been no secret for decades that this is an area which embraces the military and backs words with deeds.  No wonder so many military members choose to stay here when they complete their service,” said General Theresa C. Carter, Commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio.

A complete report is accessible here.