DVIDS – News – The economic impact of the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground is significant and long-lasting

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Arizona – For nearly 80 years, the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) has tested virtually every piece of equipment in the ground combat arsenal.

The impact of the vital work of YPG on the safety and effectiveness of American soldiers and Marines is well known, but what about the economic impact on the Yuma community?

The most recent comprehensive study of all military facilities in Arizona was published by The Maguire Company in November 2017. According to this study commissioned by the state of Arizona, the annual direct, indirect, and induced economic impact of YPG is over $ 1.1. Billions annually. Of the nearly $ 700 million direct annual impact, nearly $ 250 million was the result of wages paid to the more than 2,000 civilians who work here.

Though impressive, these numbers were compiled before the Army Futures Command (AFC) was created in 2018. Since then, YPG has actively assisted six of the AFC’s Cross Functional Teams (CFTs) in building the Army’s future forces as they seek to maintain consensus against near-peer adversaries in a high-intensity conflict. In the summer of 2020, YPG’s hosting of Project Convergence (PC), the Army’s largest skill demonstration of the year, brought in well over 900 visiting support staff for a period of six weeks. The 2021 iteration of the PC promises to be even bigger.

Yuma community leaders understand the tremendously positive economic and social impact of YPG’s presence in the region and support the position accordingly.

“The economic impact of YPG is having a profound impact on our community through our sales tax dollars, housing, gas tax dollars, and hospitality sectors,” said Julie Engel, director of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation. “The impact of YPG touches each of these things.”

Most military establishments receive basic funding through military means. Yuma Proving Ground, on the other hand, receives funding through a combination of army-provided dollars and reimbursement from test customers. Yuma Proving Ground’s customers come from other parts of the military and other government agencies, private industry, and friendly foreign nations.

Despite the pandemic, YPG continued its test and evaluation mission with a diversified workload that consisted of virtually all of the equipment a soldier or Marine is likely to use, as well as significant efforts to test the most advanced equipment for the Army’s modernization efforts.

“We never stopped working during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Larry Bracamonte, YPG’s technical director. “YPG was always open and was able to fulfill its mission.”

The feat was accomplished with careful adherence to the safety and test quality standards that characterize YPG, be it in the desert areas of Yuma, in the frozen Arctic of Alaska, or in tropical areas on leased land in Central and South America. In addition to their normal workload, PC 20’s temporary support staff stayed at local hotels, rented cars on site, and supported local restaurants and shops, all of which have been a boon to the local economy.

“It put Yuma in a much better position to weather the COVID storm than we would have otherwise,” said Kim Kahl, director of the Yuma County’s Chamber of Commerce.

The economic uncertainty that emerged after the pandemic underscored how important the post-agriculture military is to the region and how acutely it would be overlooked if it ever went away.

“Diminished is not a strong enough word,” said Kahl. “We’d be damaged.”

“The ripple effect of losing so many civilian jobs would be devastating,” Engel agreed. “YPG is the base industry. For every job in the basic industry that YPG has, five support jobs are created. If we lose one job in the basic industry, we lose five more jobs: Multiply that by 2,000, and that’s pretty significant. ”

The economic impact of YPG can also be felt indirectly, for example through the presence of the General Motors Desert Proving Ground, which signed a long-term lease with the agency in 2009 that will last until at least 2095. General Motors relocated to the areas of YPG after its one-off stint in the Mesa, Arizona rural facility was surrounded by urban sprawl, which allowed its competitors to secretly photograph tested vehicles from homes being built alongside their test track.

“If YPG weren’t there, General Motors wouldn’t be there,” said Engel. “YPG was the catalyst behind the industrial sector that chose Yuma.”

Agriculture, the military, and tourism make up the three parts of Yuma County’s economy. Yuma’s influence on the army’s future force is immense, as is the local economic impact.

“I cannot stress enough how much our profitability here depends on the military,” said Kahl. “Our companies cannot survive here without the military bases and the jobs they provide and other things they offer in terms of economic opportunity.”

Recording date: 05/25/2021
Release Date: 05/25/2021 9:45 am
Story ID: 397222
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