Charleston has long been identified as a military town. Stretching back hundreds of years, our region's strategic location on the east coast, deep port and transportation service has been home to all branches of the United States Armed Forces. Over the past century, the U.S. Naval Base, Naval Shipyard, Air Base Charleston and SPAWAR weapons system operations helped shape U.S. wartime capabilities and peacetime readiness.
U.S. National Defense downsizing in 1992 depleted roughly two-thirds of local military installations and personnel. Restructuring provided a more cohesive military presence at Joint Base Charleston, representing more than 40 separate military commands. Today, more than 22,000 military personnel (active-duty, reserve, civilians) work in our region. That number swells to more than 80,000 when considering families, retirees and dependents. Military payroll alone combines for an annual economic impact of $6.7 billion locally.
Some 18,000 military retirees now call Charleston their permanent home. These are highly skilled, technically trained professionals who often develop contractor or military-support businesses. They hire employees, raise families, pay taxes and enjoy the unique Lowcountry quality of life that makes our region so alluring.
Clean energy is shaping the way we think about our region...and the way the world thinks about us.