Military’s Physical Presence in County Remains Strong
While the flow of defense contracting dollars into San Diego County has slowed, the military’s physical presence remains strong.
“There are still about 140,000 active-duty military in San Diego, and, with dependents and retirees, the figure goes up to 400,000,” according to U. S. Navy Chief Craig Huebler. “The military continues to be the single largest employer in San Diego.”
The Navy accounts for slightly more than 100,000 of the county’s active-duty personnel. Most of the rest are Marines. San Diego’s military bases are increasingly being used to train service personnel, Huebler said. About 15,000 military personnel are now in the county for training. And much of the military’s construction program in the county has been dedicated to classroom and training facilities, Huebler said.
Number of Ships Based in S.D. Is Stable
The number of Navy ships based in San Diego has remained stable in recent years, despite fears that several ships would be lost to the controversial home-porting program that transferred many to new ports.
The aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, one of three based in San Diego, was transferred to Florida. But, in October, it was replaced by the carrier Independence.
The only other notable arrival in recent months was the Aegis class cruiser Lake Champlain, Huebler said.
“A few years ago we thought that we’d settle at about 100 ships, and we’re evidently going to stay at 102 if we don’t lose or gain anything else,” Huebler said.
San Diego’s military bases also were untouched by Congress’ recent controversial decision to close more than 90 military bases around the United States, Huebler said.
Home-porting and the base-closing campaign have “basically been a wash for us,” Huebler said. “We didn’t lose anything and, while it’s possible that we could gain a ship or a new function, it’s probably only a couple of hundred people that we’re talking about.”