A survey of Southern Arizonans released today as part of a new regional effort clearly shows strong support for the area’s military installations, coupled with a desire to learn more about the facilities’ economic impact and contributions to national defense. The results were announced at the launch of a new, broad-based effort, “Mission Strong,” developed to inform the public and to provide residents an opportunity to express support and make their voices heard in Washington, D.C.
Mission Strong is a community outreach campaign from the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance (SADA), a broad group of community and civic leaders, business organizations, military support groups, and private citizens that encompasses all of Southern Arizona and spans both sides of the political aisle. The survey was commissioned by SADA to take the pulse of the community.
Highlights of the community survey include:
· High awareness and support of military installations by local residents
· More than 90 percent of Southern Arizonans support those military bases, with 75 percent of those surveyed saying they had “strong” or “very strong” support
· The vast majority recognize the benefits of local military installations for economic viability, national defense, and giving the community a sense of pride
· There was almost no difference in levels of support between residents living closest to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the 162nd Fighter Wing and those who lived in all other areas of Southern Arizona
“Our military installations are vital economic drivers for our communities, providing more than 62,000 jobs and pumping $5.4 billion dollars in our economy every year,” said Brig. General (retired) Ron Shoopman, president of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and founding member of SADA. “Budget cuts are forcing major reductions in all branches of the military. Only the most productive, efficient, well-supported installations will survive.”
According to a Bloomberg Government Study released in 2011, southeastern Arizona ranks No. 7 in U.S. military spending in the nation.”
“It’s evident from recent announcements by the Department of Defense that Southern Arizona’s military assets could be in serious jeopardy, which would take a great toll not only on our communities, but on our national defense,” said Mike Varney, president of the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce and founding member of SADA. “It’s also very clear that we Southern Arizonans support our military, but have had no central place to come together and vocalize that support. We now have that with Mission Strong.”
Mission Strong was launched with a new website, missionstrongaz.org, where residents can sign up to participate in the community effort. The campaign includes informational materials, ongoing updates, community presentations and public service advertising.
SADA was formed in late 2012 with a purpose of supporting sustainability of the region’s military installations, defense and aerospace partners and associated education and research institutions. Through its members, SADA represents tens of thousands of Southern Arizonans.
The growing list of supporters includes the 162nd Fighter Wing Air National Guard Air Guardians, DM50, Fort Huachuca 50, International Association of Machinists, Metropolitan Pima Alliance, Pima County, Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, Southern Arizona Business Coalition, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Town of Marana, Town of Oro Valley, Town of Sahuarita, Tucson Metro Chamber, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Tucson Association of Realtors, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, VisitTucson and the Yuma Chamber of Commerce.
The community survey commissioned by the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance was conducted by Strongpoint Marketing. A random-sample web-based survey of 514 respondents was executed between November 21, 2013 and November 26, 2013 in the area including Pima, Yuma, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties as well as those areas of Pinal County that could be considered part of the general Tucson area (zip codes 85245, 85618, 85619, 85623, 85631, 85658, 85737). In addition, an intercept-based survey of 103 respondents was executed between December 19 and 29, 2013 in areas adjacent to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Tucson International Airport (which houses the 162nd Fighter Wing) in order to ensure a robust sub-sample of those living closest to either of the areas that house aircraft in the Tucson region. The total survey sample size is 617, with an associated margin of error = +/- 4.0% for questions asked by the entire sample.
The source used for economic impact data in Southern Arizona is “Economic Impact of Arizona’s Principal Military Operations,” 2008, Arizona Department of Commerce