‘An integral part of the community’

BARKING SANDS — The state of Hawaii has secured a $763,000 grant to complete a Supply Chain Map for the state’s defense contracting community, but representatives from Kauai’s naval base aren’t expecting changes to their bottom line.

The grant is from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment.

“We do not forsee the grant having a major change to current PMRF (Pacific Missile Range Facility) budget and mission at this time,” said Robert Purdy, PMRF spokesman. “The PMRF workforce and mission are expected to remain at current levels for the foreseeable future.”

According to a news release from the office of Gov. David Ige, the defense industry’s total output into Hawaii’s economy is $12.2 billion, with the average annual direct defense expenditures in the state estimated at $8.8 billion.

The defense sector supports 100,000 jobs, which is 16.5 percent of Hawaii’s total jobs and is the state’s number two contributor to economy with tourism at the top.

Mark Perriello, president of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, said PMRF plays such a vital role to the island’s economy that the Chamber of Commerce has created the Kauai Military Affairs Council, to connect “Kauai’s military ohana and the members of Kauai Chamber of Commerce.”

“Not only does PMRF employ a large number of people, directly as contractors, they involve themselves in Kauai life, they embrace and respect Kauai,” Perriello said.

Purdy said PMRF is home to about 130 government, 90 military, and 700 contractor employees and the workforce levels are expected to remain at their current levels.

He said PMRF is currently Kauai’s largest high-tech employer, is the third-largest employer on the island, and 95 percent of the roughly 1,000 people who work at PMRF reside in the Kauai community.

Purdy said PMRF provides an estimated annual economic impact of $138 million to Kauai — $114 million in contracts and services and $24 million in salaries and benefits.

“More than 50 percent of the PMRF workforce have called Kauai home for more than five years,” Purdy said. “Additional impact comes from the increase in base population during the four to six test and exercise events held yearly at the facility.”

He said roughly $2 million is contributed to the local visitor industry during each event.

Though PMRF isn’t expecting to see any influx in funding or changes due to the new Supply Chain Map grant, Ige is optimistic the grant will help Hawaii.

“This grant will enable the state of Hawaii to identify the prime contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers to the military,” Ige said. “This will enable us to plan ahead to better support this critical component of our economy by ensuring that Hawaii businesses are prepared to adapt to changing defense requirements.”

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