On Monday, June 12, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $6.1 million in awards to military communities through the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program, the Defense Reinvestment Grant Program, and the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program.
- These programs provide grants to military communities to support infrastructure projects, economic diversification efforts, and military community relations.
- More than $1.4 million is being spread across Northwest Florida.
“I am proud to continue making investments that strengthen Florida’s military communities and support our military families,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “With these grant awards, we are upholding our commitments to military and veteran families and supporting the critical missions of our state’s military installations.”
The Defense Infrastructure Grant Program supports local infrastructure projects deemed to have an impact on the military value of installations within the state. Projects funded under this program include transportation, utilities, housing, security and projects that protect military installations from encroachment.
- Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners received $500,000 to facilitate a Joint Land Use Acquisition to protect Naval Air Station Whiting Field and its outlying fields from incompatible land use encroachment, enabling the base to continue its current operations and expand its military operations in the future.
The Defense Reinvestment Grant Program supports community-based activities that protect existing military installations. These grants are awarded to economic development organizations that represent a local government with a military installation that could be adversely affected by federal actions.
- Bay Defense Alliance ($70,800) – to aid in continued Hurricane Michael rebuilding efforts, assisting Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity Panama City with community support and partnerships as the base implements new aircraft programs.
- One Okaloosa Economic Development Council ($125,000) – to create plans, presentations, and analyses relating to tri-county military priorities, industry diversification and retention, produce entrepreneur start-up videos, the identification of specific skills and competency needs, as well as Tri-County Community Partnership Initiatives.
- Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners ($125,000) – to maintain and improve relationships between military installations and the community, improve total county impact and direct defense spending, and assist with identifying grant opportunities.
The Florida Defense Support Task Force (Task Force) was created in 2011 with the mission to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state’s position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, military families, veterans, and businesses that bring military and defense-related jobs to the state.
- Emerald Coast Regional Council ($182,600) – to build upon partnership agreements among the military installations in the Emerald Coast region and their surrounding communities to allow military installations to partner with local and state governments and provide a wide variety of services.
- University of West Florida ($460,000) – to develop, field, and verify the prototype system and control network on the Avon Park Air Force Range to show proof of concept for the Beta Test of the Florida Advanced Training Range.