HONOLULU — So far in 2017, the U.S. military has spent just under 7 percent of its money from contracts, grants and assistance transactions on Kauai.
Currently that money — $67,453,021 — is doled out through a total of 542 contracts and five grants and is part of a grand total of $988,036,095 the U.S. Department of Defense has spent in Hawaii in the past year.
Hawaii averages about $2 billion just in defense contracts with DOD, according to a news release from Hawaii Defense Economy.
The Pacific Missile Range Facility on The Garden Isle’s Westside is the military presence on the island, and plays a vital role in Kauai’s economy.
Mark Perriello, president of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce said PMRF is a large enough part of Kauai’s economy that the Chamber of Commerce, has created the Kauai Military Affairs Council, a specific group to connect with the military personnel and their ohanas.
“Not only does PMRF employ Kauai’s largest number of people, directly as contractors, they involve themselves in Kauai life,” Perriello told TGI.
And the state has launched a website that shows the community just how much of an impact the Hawaii Defense Economy has on the island chain.
Total defense spending in Hawaii averages around $7.8 billion a year, according to the website, and defense spending is 9.8 percent of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).
That data was taken from Office of Economic Adjustment — Defense Spending by State for fiscal year 2015.
Statewide, the DOD employs 64,232 defense personnel and 17,447 civilian personnel on Kauai. PMRF is home to about 130 government, 90 military and 700 contractor employees.
“More than 50 percent of the PMRF workforce have called Kauai home for more than five years,” said PMRF spokesman Robert Purdy. “Additional impact comes from the increase in base population during the four to six test and exercise events held yearly at the facility.”
During each training and testing event, an estimated $2 million is infused into the local visitor industry.
The new Hawaii Defense Economy project is a way for citizens to track the DOD’s impact in the islands and is a tool that’s being supplied by the state for free online.
The project is also being led by the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Office of Community Services and funded by the DOD, Office of Economic Adjustment.
The information gathered and analyzed by HDE will help the state understand the impact of any changes to defense spending, military operations, and personnel numbers in Hawaii, according to the HDE press release.
It’s also a valuable tool for Hawaii companies to learn more about how to contract with DOD and to analyze trends, growth segments and business opportunities.
“The HDE project provides insight to the relationships between the DOD in Hawaii and companies contracted to do business performed in the state,” said Gov. David Ige in a statement.
He continued: “It will help us take informed, proactive measures and plan for potential changes in defense requirements for Hawaii.”
Hawaii is one of only five states that is home to all service branches of the military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Those who are interested can visit the HDE website and learn more about top products and services purchased by the DOD, how the money flows throughout Hawaii’s economy, and ranking of top small business contracts.
The website also includes a searchable database detailing which organizations and individuals are doing business with the military in Hawaii.
DOD relies upon hundreds of small business in Hawaii to provide critical products and services to the different military branches statewide.
In 2016, more than 1,000 small businesses received nearly 2,000 contracts worth more than $1 billion in total, according to HDE.
“There could be more opportunities for local companies to partner with DOD and we hope that they will use this resource to see what areas there are (for) contract opportunities,” said David Carey, chairman of the Hawaii Military Affairs Council.
Info: www.hawaiidefense economy.org