MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. – Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel was joined by Sen. Gary Peters; Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of Selfridge Air National Guard Base; and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley to share a new report that measures how Michigan, Macomb County and Selfridge compare to all of the other military bases under consideration by the U.S. Air Force to beddown the new F-35 Lightening IIs.
“Selfridge already has the expertise and community resources to help support and launch the F-35 program here in Macomb County,” said Hackel. “Not only would this be a great investment at Selfridge, it would also have a great impact on our community.”
The study, commissioned by the Michigan Defense Center as part of its Protect and Grow strategy, provides a comparative analysis of each location’s ability to prepare, sustain and support the mission. Highlights of the report show:
• Detroit has the experience – Nearly six times the number of defense sector jobs than the rest of the competition combined.
• Detroit makes more – Detroit meets 73 percent of its defense sector demand locally. Competing locations on average can only meet 20 percent.
• Detroit attracts the best talent – The region offers a highly-trained workforce with a higher degree of qualifications and mission readiness than the competing regions.
• Detroit can fill the need – Detroit has the necessary trained talent whereas competitors will experience a labor shortage.
• Detroit is ready to go – At nearly $2 billion annually, Detroit fulfills 33 percent more defense contracts than the closest rival.
• Detroit values its veterans – With 32 percent more veterans than the competition, Detroit has a more developed workforce with the required experience to service the defense sector.
“Selfridge is uniquely qualified to host the U.S. Air Force’s newest fifth generation fighter, the F-35,” said Slocum. “We have the best airspace, training, facilities, infrastructure and other defense equities all on hand. When it comes to affordability, capability and proven performance, Selfridge is the smartest choice for our nation and the state.”
“The battlefield is changing rapidly, and Michigan is leading the way in the development of emerging technologies that will help keep our military strong,” said Peters. “The next generation F-35 stealth fighter will be a critical asset as our military prepares for the next frontier of warfare, and I’m working in Washington to highlight the military benefits of Selfridge and Macomb County to be the home of this important mission.”
For more information on the F-35 program and the benefits it could bring to Michigan and Macomb County, visit mif35.org.