It was news to me when told the Department of Defense is the United States largest employer and largest health care provider. Think about trickle down economics for a second, the DOD employs several million active military personnel, reserve forces, and civilian staff. On top of the W2 employees, the Department of Defense takes care of millions of families that are supported by the Defense Contracting Industry.
Over half the DOD's $500B budget has went directly to Defense Contractors that are an integral piece of the military supply chain. The United States is known for innovation, intellectual property, safety, and democracy. Minus the DOD our identity as a highly intelligent republic would likely cease to exist.
The level of human talent and cognitive capabilities that has been created across our country because of the defense industry is absolutely unparalleled. As an example Cambria County Pennsylvania with a population of 140,000 residents has experienced the direct impact of government contracting first hand.
Cambria/Somerset County was founded on coal and steel, over the last 20 years a transition has occurred taking a traditional blue collar talent pool and turning the community into a mixture of scientists, engineers, software developers, and additive manufacturers.
As cities across the U.S. continue to fight the war over human capital/talent pools. Rural communities that have defense industry presence are sitting on a gold mine of capabilities. Creating bridges from rural communities into cities across the nation is simple in this decade. We have the abilities of work from home, public transportation, and infrastructure that allows us to be on a customers site without days of travel.
There needs to be a concerted effort on identifying the levels of talent that have been created by the DOD and how rural regions harness those skill sets to strengthen their regional economies through urban partnerships.