Last week’s Advocates talked about the key takeaways from our Transportation meetings at the Virtual DC Fly-In. This week we want to focus on the Military meetings. Our delegation met with key leadership at the Air Force and the Coast Guard, two branches of the military with significant importance to the Charleston region.
The Coast Guard has plans to expand in the Charleston region and the best thing that we can do to support this expansion is to continue to improve the quality of life. This includes housing, daycares and education options. Right now, the Coast Guard has Coast Guardsmen requesting relocations to Charleston. We hope to continue this trend as the Coast Guard’s presence expands and highlight the region-wide community support.
The biggest threat the Coast Guard is currently facing is cyber security. They commended the Charleston Metro Chamber for putting on the Hack-a-thon, where rising ninth graders spent three mornings with cyber experts from the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC), and encouraged the business community to continue to work to bridge the talent gap. Chamber staff will be following up with Coast Guard leadership to explore partnering with the Coast Guard on cyber security.
The Air Force identified some key issues for the business community to help advance in support of the military mission: infrastructure, wind energy encroachment, military maintenance and construction and climate change. Particularly in the Charleston Region, hurricanes have become more frequent. It is imperative that the infrastructure is in place to protect the base from these severe weather events.
The political climate in Washington is creating a challenge for the mission of the Department of Defense (DOD). If there is a government shutdown or a continuing resolution, the DOD does not receive new funding, and it becomes difficult to fully carry out the military mission. In a world that includes a peer adversary in China, we need to provide the resources to the DOD to continue their ever-challenging mission. The business community can continue to do its part to encourage bipartisanship during these times.
The Charleston Metro Chamber is thankful to Joint Base Charleston for the vital role they played in the drawdown in Afghanistan. There is a near-term need to provide maintenance to the C-17 wings that participated in the airlift.
During our Fly-In meetings with the federal delegation, the Chamber attendees emphasized the need to support the military missions in the lowcountry.
We will continue to do all we can to support the military mission in the Charleston region and demonstrate a shared commitment to solving issues that inhibit mission success.
Bailey Vincett, Government Relations Coordinator