HawaiiWritten by Beverly Creamer On 31 May 2011

The military spent an average of about $6.527 billion a year in Hawaii over the last few years, according to the first figures available from a new RAND National Defense Research Institute Report to be released in full tomorrow.

More than 140 business leaders, military personnel and legislators will be the first to hear an overview about military expenditures in Hawaii since 1982 – and the average annual expenditures – during an 8 to 10 a.m. breakfast program tomorrow at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. (The program is already full, and no more reservations are available.)

The report, entitled “How Much Does Military Spending Add to Hawaii’s Economy,” is the first comprehensive look at military spending in Hawaii in the last 50 years.

The report will be available by around noon tomorrow on the websites of two sponsoring organizations, the Chamber of Commerce and the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs. For the full report, go to either Rand Corporation’s website, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s website or HIPA’s website.

To give readers an idea of the military impact on the state’s economy, in FY 2007-2009, Department of Defense expenditures averaged $6.527 billion per year (in 2009 dollars,) according to a statement from William Kaneko, President and CEO of HIPA.

“The total reflects personnel expenditures in the amount of $4.074 billion, and procurement expenditures totaling $2.453 billion,” said Kaneko. He added that release of this new study is “essential to understanding one of the most important economic sectors in Hawaii – the military.”

The study was commissioned by HIPA and the Chamber, with support from U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Chamber President and CEO Jim Tollefson said a study of this depth hasn’t been done since 1963. “Our state has gone through almost 50 years of economic change in which the military presence has played a vital role and continues to play a vital role,” said a statement by Tollefson.

RAND Corporation senior economist Jim Hosek, who is also editor of the RAND Journal of Economics, will present the report and take questions.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Rear Admiral Robin M. Watters, U.S. Navy, Chief of Staff, Pacific Command, will also make presentations.

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Beverly Creamer

A long-time Hawaii writer, formerly with The Honolulu Advertiser, and earlier, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. University of Hawaii graduate; Canadian born.

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