HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - Pennsylvania's military bases employ thousands of Pennsylvanians and create billions for the state's economy, but some officials are now worried about what potential cuts by the Department of Defense could mean.
They trying to urge Congress to keep those jobs intact.
A new study released Thursday by the state's Military Community Enhancement Commission shows just how important military installations are to jobs in Pennsylvania.
"Pennsylvania military installations are critical for our nation's security and also the economic growth of our counties and state," said Sabina Deitrick, of the University of Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh study finds that the Department of Defense is the seventh-largest employer in Pennsylvania, generating 55,000 jobs and contributing more than $11 billion to the state in 2016.
"That's quite a sizable amount and a big contribution to our state's economy," Deitrick said.
"So, when we talk about Amazon and doing our song and dance and flips to get them here, we should be doing at least that much to make sure the Department of Defense stays here and invests in Pennsylvania jobs," said Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, who serves as chair of the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission
Those jobs could be in jeopardy, however.
The Department of Defense could cut as much as 20 percent of military installations across the country, saying they'll be considered "excess" in the near future. That comes as Pennsylvania has lost a number of senior members of the U.S. House to retirement.
"When you lose seniority in Washington, that's a really dangerous thing," Stack said. "So, we all have to step up our efforts, to be more vocal for Pennsylvania."
Stack is hoping this study will help convince Congress that if they're going to cut military installations, to look elsewhere.
"So, we're going to have to fight harder and harder for our own territory in Pennsylvania," Stack said.
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