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South Carolina to continue push for new base

October 31, 2008

Contact: Curtis Loftis at (803) 734-2121.

“Given our nation’s current economic climate, it is essential that we retain as many jobs as possible within our domestic economy. Especially in the harsh economic times we are facing as a nation, I believe that the tens of millions of dollars that will be spent each year to operate AFRICOM should be spent here in the US rather than at any alternative location abroad.” — Richard Eckstrom, Co-Chair, S.C. Military Task Force

South Carolina to
continue push for new base

Richard Eckstrom, co-chair of the South Carolina Military Task Force, says the state will continue its push to become the site of the newly-formed AFRICOM, or the United States Africa Command.

Eckstrom, the S.C. Comptroller General, has received word that South Carolina is remains a strong contender for the Command, which was formed to promote a stable African continent, although the Pentagon has decided to postpone a decision on whether to relocate the Command. The Command is now based in Stuttgart, Germany.

“We will continue to make our case that Charleston is the best-suited for the United States Africa Command,“ Eckstrom said. “Not only would the military benefit from this prime location, but our state’s economy would receive a tremendous boost from this multi-million dollar project and the nearly 1,000 new jobs it would bring.”

Eckstrom has lobbied the Pentagon to bring the base to Charleston, saying the tens of millions of dollars in military spending the Command represents should come home to the United States, where such economic investment is badly needed.

“As you are probably aware, the port city of Charleston, SC would be an ideal location for re-locating the U.S. Africa Command because of Charleston’s existing intermodal transportation capabilities and its extensive existing infrastructure and support that are required by any military command,” Eckstrom said in an Oct. 30 letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

The U.S. African Command would mean nearly 1,000 new jobs for the Lowcountry and tens of millions of dollars in economic investment, Eckstrom said.

Another option being considered by the Pentagon is relocating the Command to a site in Africa, according to Eckstrom.

But in his letter to Gates, Eckstrom said, “Given our nation’s current economic climate, it is essential that we retain as many jobs as possible within our domestic economy. Especially in the harsh economic times we are facing as a nation, I believe that the tens of millions of dollars that will be spent each year to operate AFRICOM should be spent here in the US rather than at any alternative location abroad.

“Additionally, to maximize the economic benefit within our nation, AFRICOM should be located where it would produce the greatest relative economic benefit,“ the letter continued. “Of the three US locations under consideration – Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina – re-locating AFRICOM to South Carolina would produce the greatest relative economic benefit.”

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