The first day of the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit is in the bag.
The key takeaway: If Florida wants to climb up the economic ladder, it needs to focus on boosting its foothold in the defense industry and welcoming veterans — many of whom have skills prized by employers — with open arms.
“We want to see Florida grow from the 17th largest economy in the world to 10th largest economy, and the defense industry will help diversify and help fuel this growth,” Florida Chamber CEO Mark Wilson said in his opening address.
That thesis was backed up by some concrete examples of what Florida’s government and business spheres can do to spur growth in the defense arena.
According to retired U.S. Army Major Gen. Michael D. Jones, a headlining speaker at the event, that includes environmental concerns — if or when the moratorium on oil drilling expires in 2022, oil rigs could pepper the seas just nine miles off the coast, which would