Exercise added estimated $28 million to Alaska economy

Data gathered by planners overseeing Northern Edge 17, a U.S. Pacific Command exercise in Alaska involving several branches of the armed forces, estimates that the training in early May had a $28 million impact on the state’s economy.

That includes $12.4 million spend by visiting personnel, $7.9 million in contracts and $7.7 million in base support wages, said Air Force Capt. Anastasia D. Schmidt, of the Alaskan NORAD Region/ Alaskan Command/ 11th Air Force.

While a large part of NE 17 was conducted in the Gulf of Alaska, it had no direct economic impact on the Cordova area, Schmidt said.

Some 160 Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, approximately 6,000 personnel and two U.S. Navy destroyers and a supply ship participated in Northern Edge. The training also included some 1,700 flight missions and 4,000 flight hours to practice joint interoperability and techniques, Schmidt said.

The estimated economic impact on Homer, during a USS Hopper port visit April 29 through May 2, with 280 personnel on board, was estimated between $250,000 and $275,000. That included money spent on lodging, fishing charters, restaurants, tours, shuttle service and groceries.

When the USS O’Kane visited Juneau May 13-18, with approximately 280 personnel on board, the military spent an estimated $505,000 on utilities, charter and hire services, 150 personnel a day, retail, restaurants, lodging and tours, Schmidt said.