Military installations, activities, and operations; U.S. Department of Defense contracts; and a significant number of retired military personnel in the Knoxville area are generating an annual economic impact of $2.98 billion. That's according to a recent report by the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council (ETMAC) and the Knoxville Chamber. The data for the study were collected in 2019, so the current economic impact on East Tennessee is most likely higher.
The analysis includes a 16-county region within 50 miles of Knoxville, which is home to a number of small- to medium-sized military units that include Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve components of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.
Department of Defense contracts at the time of the study were $1.378 billion, up more than $911 million from a 2017 report. Veteran benefits, benefits for military retirees, and annual payroll for active duty, guard, reserve, and civilian personnel make up the bulk of the economic totals, with construction, supplies, services and materials, and indirect jobs from military personnel and military contracts for area businesses also contributing to the total. There are more than 9,000 retired military personnel calling East Tennessee home.
Another economic model finds that the economic impact of the military in East Tennessee is second only to U.S. Department of Energy operations in Oak Ridge and exceeds all other large businesses and employers in the area.