Jones addresses local leaders.
The commandant of the marine corps visited Parris Island today, giving community leaders reassurance of the military presence in the community. The Tri-Command pumps millions of dollars into the Low Country economy each year. In fact in 2001, the total economic impact of the three bases--the Marine Corps Air Station, Parris Island, and the Naval Hospital--totaled more than $375 million, and that's not including the federal multiplier. That's why the Greater Beaufort Chamber of Commerce brought the General James Jones to Beaufort, to address local leaders about the importance of the military in the community.
"It's important for our decision makers and elected officials to understand what the trends are, as well as the future opportunities with our four key economic sectors," said Libby Barnes, president of the chamber. "And the military is certainly one of the four key sectors that drive our economy."
General Jones touched on a number of military issues, including national security, military integration, along with the upcoming base closures and realignment scheduled for 2005. But, the general says, Parris Island and the Air Station should make it through the next BRAC without any problems. Especially since the marine corps and the navy are becoming more integrated, making each of the marine bases more valuable.
"My analysis of the US Marine Corps with its 15 major bases and stations are extremely efficient and if we're to take any of the those pieces out, I think we would diminish our readiness and our ability to project our forces globally," said General Jones.
With the threat of war upon our nation, General Jones says the marine corps is ready for anything that comes its way.
"We have the rotational base and the manpower, morale, and the readiness to do whatever the nation calls us to do right now," he said.
General Jones has held the position as the 32nd commandant of the marine corps since July of 1999. For his next assignment, beginning in July, he will serve as the US European commander.