News: Gov. Brown’s Military Council visits Monterey military schools
Story by Natela Cutter
MONTEREY, Calif. - Congressman Sam Farr chaired a meeting of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Military Council members at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and Presidio of Monterey June 16, informing participants of the significance of the 12 military missions that exist in his district that spans Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.
Farr’s co-chair at the meeting, former Congresswoman and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher, was tasked by Brown to travel and gather information from all California military installations and assess their impact on national security and the state’s economy.
“The existence of a Military Council is very important because not enough is known (in Washington, D.C.) about the strength of the military in this area,” said Farr, representative of California’s 20th Congressional District. “These are all huge enterprises in California,” which need to work together within their own communities for cost savings in areas where there is a duplication of effort.
On a two-day visit to the Monterey Peninsula, some 15 members of the Governor’s Military Council heard from the DLIFLC’s assistant commandant, Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace, and the garrison commander, Army Col. Paul Fellinger. Each spoke of the unique relationship that exists with the surrounding communities and other local military organizations.
“We spend about $13 million per year in contracts with the cities of Monterey and Seaside, which include facilities maintenance, fire protection, and incomes for local custodial and landscaping employees,” said Fellinger, explaining that local partnerships and cost savings achieved made even more sense during a time of Department of Defense-mandated budget cuts.
With more than 4,000 DLIFLC service members stationed in the area, the annual housing and rent revenue from military housing allowances amounts to $57 million. This year’s contract for the renovation of more than 100 homes amounts to $2.1 million.
“Our rough estimate is that we have more than a $1 billion impact on the local economy to include second and third order effects,” said Wallace.
“It would be difficult to replicate DLI in any other state in the nation,” said Farr, explaining that the Institute draws from the rich multicultural California population to teach more than 24 languages at the Institute.
DLIFLC students of all four branches of the services also regularly engage in volunteer activities on the Peninsula.
“Our service members volunteered 13,500 hours in 2013, making possible many of the events this area is known for,” Fellinger said, citing local parades and sports events that service members help with. Fellinger also noted that service members participate in blood drives organized by the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula which amounts for 14 percent of their annual supply.
“The Monterey model of interdependence and the relationship it has with the communities is exemplary. It is a model that needs to be used elsewhere. Once the military works like this with its surrounding communities, those relationships are hard to unwind,” commented Tauscher.
The Governor’s Military Council members also visited the Naval Postgraduate School, one of the most prestigious advanced military education and research institutions in the nation, and had an opportunity to meet with the city of Monterey and other local officials.
California is home to 29 federal military installations which employ more than 230,000 people, according to Brown’s website. The Governor’s Military Council’s goal is to compile information on each installation in order to write a report and strategic plan to protect California’s military installations and operations amid ongoing DOD budget cuts and force reduction after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The council was established by Brown in 2013 and is composed of retired admirals and generals from the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as a number of business leaders.