The Governor’s New State Military Council…Keeping our State & Nation out of Harm’s Way

Billie Greer
Public Policy Advisor, She served as a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s senior staff.

Successful organizations, including the Military, have learned that the higher the risk, the more necessary it is to engage everyone’s commitment and intelligence.  Margaret J. Wheatley

Kudos to Governor Brown for doing just that.  The Governor recently convened a new Military Council charged with helping preserve and strengthen California’s defense complex which plays a central role in America’s defense and fuels the state’s economy.

The Governor has seeded the Military Council with some of the best and the brightest leaders in our state  — retired military brass, business leaders and legislators from both parties.  The importance of their work to protect California’s military bases and operations and to grow defense related jobs cannot be overstated. 

The nation’s defense is shifting toward the Pacific theatre – an area that is growing its economic and military muscles. This shift underscores the importance of California which is the strategic gateway to that part of the world. With more than 30 major defense installations –more than double any other state–California has the people power and the infrastructure in place, which are making major contributions to our national security today, and is well positioned to prepare America for the threats of the future.

However, at a time when California’s defense role should be increased, not decreased, the picture is increasingly grim. The sequestration budget cuts that are being made, on top of earlier mandated cuts to the Department of Defense, is expected to take a huge toll.  According to a study undertaken by the Southwest Defense Alliance, these combined cuts will result in a loss of 336,000 defense related jobs and $21 billion in economic output in California over an eight year period.   And, given that another round of military base closures and realignments is likely on the horizon, it’s anyone’s guess as to the extent of hurt that California will experience.

The Military Council is charged with crafting recommendations on how to retain and expand California’s critical military assets and create additional jobs, in light of new military technology and the advancement of cyber security systems.  The Council has a big job to do. But, all of the positive signs are there. The needed commitment and intelligence that Ms. Wheatley references is reflected in the Governor’s appointees and in his under-scoring of the importance of the task to California and the nation.  Wishing the Military Council well, as it takes on this challenge, is the least we can do.

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