Col. Brant A. Putnam 

Commander 162nd Wing 
Air National Guard
Sun Corridor Inc. DOD Liaison

If you were to be asked by a site selector, what is the best part of doing business in Tucson, what are the areas you would highlight?

As a native, I have watched Tucson grow in many different ways. However, with that growth what has not changed is the strong sense of community among the people. When people come to call Tucson home, they become part of a community eager to support neighbors, local businesses and community institutions. That culture has allowed the Arizona Air National Guard to thrive over its nearly 70 years in Tucson and remain a pillar of dependable revenue to the local economy. It certainly doesn’t hurt that we are able to enjoy the outdoors nearly year-round with clear skies, temperate weather and natural backdrops unlike anywhere else in the country. Tucson is truly a special place with gracious people.

What are some of the emerging trends in your industry that could have an impact locally on site selectors looking at the Tucson region? 

The U.S. military has maintained a strong presence in Southern Arizona since the 1950s, and as the Morris Air National Guard Base and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base grow and evolve, our community partnerships continue to be critical for both homeland and global defense. Here at the 162nd Wing, we continue to train the world’s greatest F-16 pilots critical to the defense of the U.S. and our international partners, soon to include Ukraine. Our wing will also continue to support emerging missions with the MQ-9 Reaper in overseas contingency operations from DM. Further, DM will be ushering in a new mission and assets under the Special Operations realm in the coming years. In a 2014 survey, the Military Affairs Committee estimated the bases’ local economic impact to be $383 million annually, and given our sustained foothold in the region, that contribution should continue well into the future.  

Aside from the areas you would highlight to a site selector, what are you most optimistic about for the future economic development in the region? 

I’ve always known Tucson to be a rich, welcoming and diverse community, but our charming town has been making big city moves that are putting us on the map. We are increasingly recognized as an attractive destination for young professionals, start-up companies, innovation centers, tech industry and more, and our long-standing institutions play a big role in that. We have a world-class institution of higher education at the University of Arizona, attracting innovative minds and research to our region. And we have Pima Community College driving initiatives like its Aviation Technology Program to create opportunities for Tucsonans to attain sustainable, relevant careers and grow industries in our own backyard. Tucson has always been an incredible place to live, but now more people know it, and they’re bringing fresh ideas with them, ensuring our community thrives.


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