Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announced the 2012-13 Florida Defense Support Task Force grants totaling $2.6 million.
The grants have been awarded to 10 projects that serve to protect military installations and grow jobs and opportunities across the state, including the city of Jacksonville and the Florida 8(a) Alliance in Jacksonville.
"The military has a strong presence in Florida, which means jobs and opportunities for Florida families," Scott said. "With numerous bases across Florida, nearly 100,000 men and women who serve in active and reserve duty are living in the Sunshine State. These $2.6 million in grants will enhance relationships between Florida communities and the military to ensure we're doing the best job possible in working with our nation's armed services."
Scott said the grants will strengthen Florida's bases ahead of any potential Department of Defense realignment or closure actions, thereby protecting more than $60 billion in economic impact, and the more than 686,181 jobs that the defense industry annually brings to Florida.
The city of Jacksonville will receive two grants totaling $450,000. The funding will allow Jacksonville officials to continue protecting local military installations by constructing an explosive ordinance disposal bunker at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base and establishing a maritime research and development capability at Naval Station Mayport.
Additionally, the Florida 8(a) Alliance, based in Jacksonville, will receive $100,000 to assist veteran-owned and defense industry small businesses across Florida.
"These investments are critical to supporting military jobs and further establishing Jacksonville as a major hub for aircraft basing," Scott said. "This $450,000 investment will support the creation of a bunker for disposing of explosives, support research and development efforts and veteran-owned businesses for the Jacksonville community. No doubt, these projects make Jacksonville even more important for our nation's military."
"These grants represent a vote of confidence in the collaborative efforts between City Hall and the military and veterans community in Jacksonville," Mayor Alvin Brown said. "I'm pleased to work with Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Defense Support Task Force to enhance Jacksonville's role as one of America's great military and veteran cities. This is a remarkable opportunity not only to strengthen our part in national security, but promote jobs and economic development at both the local and state levels."