Central Arkansas named a 2020 ‘Great American Defense Community’

 January 14, 2020

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (January 14, 2020) –
The Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council, representing Central Arkansas, is one of five communities across the country recently named to the 2020 Class of Great American Defense Communities by the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) and program sponsor USAA. The council will be formally recognized at a ceremony in Washington D.C. in June.

“The strength of our military starts at home, in America’s defense communities,” said ADC President Joe Driskill. “We are proud to recognize Central Arkansas as a community that goes above and beyond for service members and their families. We are excited to share their story.”

The communities recognized by the Great American Defense Communities program demonstrate exemplary work in improving the quality of life of military personnel and their families through programs, initiatives and partnerships in their regions. Others selected this year include Abilene, Texas – Dyess Air Force Base; Greater Ogden, Utah – Hill Air Force Base; Junction City, Kansas – Fort Riley; and St. Clair, Illinois, Scott Air Force Base.

“We are extremely honored to be selected as a Great American Defense Community. Our community continuously endeavors to support the Airmen and the base in whatever capacity we can,” said Mike Watson, president of the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council. “We appreciate the sacrifices the Airmen and their families make to serve our country, and we want to support them in every way possible.”

The Great American Defense Communities program, now in its fifth year, was established to recognize the role that communities and regions with active installations in the United States play in supporting service members and military families. Communities are chosen through a competitive nomination process based on community building and integration, support and collaboration, and educational and employment opportunities, and family support.

“The Little Rock Air Force Base is an important economic driver in Central Arkansas, and the surrounding community is always willing to do whatever we can to improve the lives of the brave men and women stationed here,” said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “The entire region completely embraces its role in our nation’s defense by ensuring mission effectiveness and by taking care of our military families, and it’s quite an honor to be recognized by the ADC.”

Because of the military’s economic impact in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson created the Military Affairs Division at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Heading the division is retired Col. Rob Ator, who previously served as commander of the 189th Airlift Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard, the largest Air National Guard C-130 Wing in the nation.

“As the ‘Home of the Herk’ and all C-130 training for the Department of Defense and some 40 allied nations, Central Arkansas is an international destination,” said Ator.“Central Arkansas, and the City of Jacksonville in particular, takes the role of ‘Host’ to heart.I couldn’t be prouder of all the earnest work done every day to take care of our Airmen.”

For more information about AEDC divisions and programs, visit www.ArkansasEDC.com.



Arkansas Economic Development Commission Military Affairs Director, retired Gen. Rob Ator (at left), recognized several legislators for their support during the last legislative session at the recent Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council meeting. The council will be formally recognized as one of the 2020 Class of Great American Defense Communities by the Association of Defense Communities in Washington D.C. in June. Also pictured are Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain Home, Sen. Jane English of North Little Rock, Rep. Mary Bentley of Perryville, and Sen. Jim Hendren of Sulphur Springs.

About ADC

ADC is the connection point for leaders from communities, states, the military and industry on community-military issues and installation management to enhance knowledge, information sharing and best practices. With nearly 300 communities, states, regions, and affiliated industry organization as members, ADC represents every major defense community/state in the nation. To learn more visit, defensecommunities.org.

About USAA

The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 12.3 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.

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