Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown creates state military council

Council includes some San Diego officials

SAN DIEGO - Gov. Jerry Brown announced Thursday the creation of a state military council, which includes several San Diego-area officials and is aimed at protecting the 29 installations around California and expanding defense-related jobs and investment.

"California plays a crucial role in our nation's defense, and military bases and activities are vital to our state's economy," Brown said. "As federal priorities shift to cyber security and new military technology, this council will work to expand defense-industry jobs and investment in California."

The governor said the council will work to protect California's military installations and operations amid ongoing Department of Defense budget cuts, and take advantage of changes in federal military strategy to position the state to continue innovation and leadership in its military mission.

San Diego elected officials and defense industry leaders lobbied hard against the automatic spending cuts to defense that were part of sequestration, citing potential job losses and economic damage. Some of them expressed concerns that a round of base closings could be ahead.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, state Parks and Recreation Director Anthony Jackson, San Diego Military Advisory Council President James Jackson, Dennis Kenneally of the Southwest Defense Alliance and University of San Diego President Mary Lyons were among those named to the panel.

Chavez is a former Marine colonel, Jackson a retired Marine major general, Johnson was a Navy rear admiral and Kenneally an ex-Army major general. Lyons rose to a captain during 25 years in the Naval Reserve and taught at the old Naval Training Center in Point Loma.

"As home to the largest concentration of military bases, facilities, and installations in the country, San Diego has solidified its importance to not only California, but also the entire country," said Larry Blumberg, executive director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council. "With the governor's leadership, we are sending a strong message to D.C. that California will continue to be a leading voice as we seek to protect our military resources."

Greg Cox, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said one in four jobs in San Diego County is linked to defense spending.

In 2012, total defense spending added approximately $31.9 billion to the regional economy, according to the San Diego council.

"Protecting our military assets means protecting our jobs," said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO at San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. "From ship builders to unmanned systems engineers, more than 300,000 jobs in our region are either dependent on military spending."

The state council will be chaired by ex-Rep. Ellen Tauscher.

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