Advocacy groups for military installations are ramping up efforts to promote their bases, either through specific initiatives intended to increase military value or enhance efficiency, or through campaigns to raise the profile of an installation locally and nationally.
The Defense Communities National Summit will feature a special track focusing on the range of partnerships and other strategies defense communities are adopting to support their installations in the face of budget cuts in Washington and the prospect of base closures.
In conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the forerunner of MacDill Air Force Base, the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance has launched a marketing campaign to raise awareness of the installation among area residents and businesses.
The initiative is centered on the “My MacDill” website, which provides residents and local organizations an opportunity to post photos, videos and personal memories about the base and its contribution to the Tampa region and the nation. The site features a series of interviews with personnel who have served at MacDill, including retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks, who commanded U.S. Central Command from 2000 to 2004, reported the Tampa Tribune.
The campaign also will be rolled out at local sporting events, music festivals and other public happenings. One of the effort’s goals is to go viral on the Internet, at least locally, said John Schueler, president of the defense alliance.
“This is like the ALS Challenge, without the water,” said Schueler. “We were interested in an approach that can bring the community together.”
The effort also is intended to highlight the robust partnership between the community and MacDill at a time when Pentagon officials are urging Congress to authorize a new round of base closures, according to the story.
The campaign follows the release of a report from Deloitte Consulting outlining actions that Tampa officials can take to preserve MacDill and its many tenants, including U.S. Special Operations Command, Special Operations Command Central and the Joint Communications Support Element.
The report calls for the state to allocate sufficient funding and staff to its military affairs organization; funding independent studies of base strengths, weaknesses and economic impact; investing in infrastructure; and creating a commanders council to foster greater communication between the community and base officials.