Fort Drum impact is $1.6B direct, $2.2B including indirect

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 11:40 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - Fort Drum continues to have a major impact on the local economy.

Fort Drum officials say the post’s direct economic impact — what it spends in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties — was around $1.6 billion in 2022, up 4.6% from 2021′s $1.5 billion.

The increase, they say, is due primarily to more construction spending and a $2.7% cost-of-living increase for military and civilian workers.

Advocate Drum – also known as the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization – has numbers that include the post’s indirect impact, which is additional economic activity that the post’s spending generates.

Advocate Drum says the additional activity amounts to nearly $600,000, placing Fort Drum’s overall impact at $2.2 billion. It was $1.96 billion in 2021.

The Advocate Drum model estimates that in addition to the 18,920 military and civilian personnel directly employed at Fort Drum in 2022, the post’s spending generated another 5,888 jobs in the region.

“In total, there’s about 24,000, almost 25,000 jobs in the three country region that are directly or indirectly related to Fort Drum, which is about 22%, almost a quarter of the wage earners in the region, which is pretty significant,” said Advocate Drum Board President Dave Zembiec.

Fort Drum is the largest single-site employer in New York state.

In all, Fort Drum has more than 31,000 soldiers and family members. More than 19,000 retirees and dependents live in the north country. Fort Drum supported 2,668 veterans and survivors in 2022.

“That’s all adding to the tax base, that’s all adding. We have a lot more access to the goods and services, medical care that higher population allows us to. Without that Fort Drum population, you wouldn’t have the critical mass needed to have the Olive Garden, and a lot of the other restaurants or shopping opportunities that we have in town,” said Zembiec.

Local school districts received more than $30 million in Department of Defense impact aid, which helps pay for the education of students affiliated with Fort Drum.