Continuing the work of the recently created Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno today joined fellow Task Force members to tour Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway Township. Following the meeting with base military leaders, participants took part in a roundtable discussion at Muldoon's Steakhouse & Pub, a nearby small business that is directly impacted by the presence of the military facility.
"Today is the next stop in an ongoing process to secure New Jersey's legacy of a strong and highly adaptable military presence for years to come," said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. "Picatinny Arsenal and the state's other military installations are engines of economic growth and job creation that are directly responsible for the superior quality of life of surrounding communities. The Task Force will not only work to ensure their continued sustainability and growth, but ensure that New Jersey remains at the forefront of efforts to safeguard America's lasting strength and security."
Created through Executive Orders Nos. 134 and 154, the Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force is charged with forging an effective blueprint for securing the long-term growth and viability of New Jersey's military bases and U.S. Coast Guard installations. These critical responsibilities include: organizing a broad-based coalition supportive of the state's military bases, assisting in the economic fortification of New Jersey's military installations, and ensuring alignment of base missions with larger Department of Defense priorities.
"The Task Force will increase public awareness of military bases, installations and armories throughout the State and their respective missions to ensure long-term growth and viability of our military bases and Coast Guard installations," said Brig. Gen. Michael L. Cunniff, the Adjutant General for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "We are eager to begin our study and formulate recommended courses of action to safeguard and promote the military bases that have provided so much for our state and nation to the benefit of all New Jerseyans."
Analysis by Rutgers University has detailed the incredible direct and indirect impact New Jersey's military bases have supporting the state's overall economic vitality. Taken together, New Jersey's military installations generate employment for more than 73,000 people and support $9.6 billion in total economic activity.
Located on nearly 6,500 acres in Morris County, Picatinny Arsenal supports approximately 5,000 direct jobs and more than 8,200 indirect jobs in surrounding communities, all while adding $1.5 billion to New Jersey's economy annually. Due to its diverse portfolio specializing in the research, development, acquisition and lifecycle management of advanced conventional weaponry and ammunition, roughly half of the workers at Picatinny are engineers and scientists. Weaponry developed at Picatinny is used by all branches of the U.S. military.
Conveniently located in the Macy's at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, Muldoon's Steakhouse & Pub is one of the most popular family-friendly restaurants in Morris County. Along with countless other area businesses, its success is directly impacted by its nearby proximity to Picatinny Arsenal and its considerable customer base.
"Picatinny Arsenal has been a big part of the community for many years," said Doug Winch, owner of Muldoon's Steakhouse & Pub. "Friends and family are employed there and many are our customers at Muldoon's. Supporting our military personnel is very important to my family, as my son Jake will be entering the Marine Corps this year."
The coming weeks will see the Task Force visit New Jersey's other military institutions, their surrounding small business communities, and other businesses impacted by New Jersey's military installations. These visits will continue to spread the word of its ongoing work and emphasize the important role each one plays to the state's overall economy and future workforce.
Chaired by Lt. Governor Guadagno, the Task Force is comprised of experienced members from across the military, government and the private sector, including: Brig. Gen. Cunniff, former Congressman Jim Saxton, Michele Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Authority, Tracye McDaniel, President and CEO of Choose New Jersey, and Paul Boudreau, President of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.
Also joining the Task Force today were Congressman Leonard Lance and Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce.