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New Economic Report for Barksdale Air Force Base - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

New Economic Report for Barksdale Air Force Base

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BOSSIER CITY, La -

Barksdale Air Force Base is a staple of Shreveport/Bossier with their famous B52's.

However, the base is also a major economic boost for the area.

Their latest, just released numbers for 2013, prove that.

"We are a large economic driver in this area with a total direct impact estimated to be about $800-million a year," said Captain Phil Ventura, Public Affairs Officer, Second Bomb Wing.

He went on to say that's about where we should be.

"Our numbers in this year's economic impact statement are similar to years in the past," he said. "We are a presence here and as folks know who have been in this area for a while, Barksdale Air Force Base is a growing presence."

What really helped their presence grow was the addition of Global Strike Command in 2009.

Their mission is to provide combat-ready forces for global strike operations.

Before their arrival, the Barksdale Warrior reported the base in 2008 had a $650-million a year economic impact.

Since then, that number has jumped more than $150-million.

We can attribute a lot of that, to the 900 Global Strike employees and their families.

"A tremendous amount of people that were not here before showed up and Haynesville Shale was actually occurring around the same time frame," said Bossier Parish Administrator William Altimus. "So, while the nation was in a recession more or less, things here were in pretty good shape."

Altimus believes Global Strike gave our entire community the stability it needed at a critical time.

"It really carried us through that time," he said. "All of those people showing up had good salaries, they were looking for a place to live, buying automobiles, so that really helped out the economy and that continued to happen."

The home to the majority of the B52 fleet did have some turbulence in the past year with the loss of a squadron of A10 fighter aircraft.

"Barksdale took a hit when the A10's left," said Altimus. "Fortunately, a lot of those people, I believe, were able to cross train into the bombing squadrons and maintain their jobs maybe in a different type of aircraft, but they were still able to remain here at Barksdale."

People are a big factor.

This new report shows they have 1,934 reservists and 5,681 active duty members.

That brings the total military to 7,622.

When you add total civilians and total dependents, you're looking at 18,699 people.

That's a number Captain Ventura says is most important to him.

"We have about 18,000 people who either work on Barksdale Air Force Base, live on Barksdale Air Force Base, or rely on Barksdale Air Force Base for their shopping and community needs," he said.

While that's great, looking to the future Altimus hopes for even more people at Barksdale.

"A more robust Barksdale would be ideal," said Altimus, "because, like I say, it is a huge economic engine that really drives this area."

There are a lot of other important numbers on this brand new 2013 direct impact report.

Their total expenditures top $200-million, that includes new construction and operating the commissary.

They also show new numbers for the payroll.

Military pay is $353,315,772 and civilian pay is $123,225,115.

If you're wondering about job creation, the estimated annual dollar value is at $127,497,500 for 2013.

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