U-Pitt study highlights US Army War College & Carlisle Barracks economic value to Pennsylvania

By Public Affairs Staff    13 August 2018

Visitor captures the Instagram moment at Army Heritage Days. The Army Heritage & Education Center attracts military, students, researchers and veterans among the tens of thousands of visitors to their military history archives, interactive exhibits,

An independent study released this week by the state’s Military Community Enhancement Commission draws conclusions about the importance of the US Army War College and Carlisle Barracks to Pennsylvania:significant economic impact of more than $.5 billion, importance of community ties, and areas of strategic competitive advantage for Pennsylvania.The Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission sponsored a year-long study by the University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh, to analyze and understand the economic and community impacts of Pennsylvania’s military and defense installations. The purpose of the project was to assist state and local policy makers in understanding economic impacts, competitive strengths, local and community partnerships, industry connections.

The study concluded that Pennsylvania plays a vital role in supporting America’s military and defense infrastructure – and the state’s military installations support critical military infrastructure: logistics, distribution, advanced manufacturing, electronics, leadership education, and refueling and repair. “Through the direct, indirect, and induced effects, Pennsylvania’s major military installations generated $4 billion in labor income and $11 billion in total economic output in 2016.”

Excerpts from the Army War College assessment:

Economic impact

  • A total of 2,868 jobs within the state of Pennsylvania, generating over $229 million in labor income annually. Direct impacts are the employment and spending by Army organizations located at Carlisle Barracks, which includes the impacts of resident students enrolled in USAWC programs. Indirect impacts are generated by the supply chain purchases of these organizations; induced impacts derive from the spending patterns of civilian employees and service members whose jobs are generated by operations at the installation.
  • $521 million in overall economic output within Pennsylvania, which quantifies the potential impact on employment and economic output of operations at Carlisle Barracks. This could be interpreted as the absence of USAWC and Carlisle Barracks operations within Pennsylvania.

Competitive Assessment

"One of the key advantages of Carlisle Barracks as a location for USAWC is its proximity to Washington, D.C. Within 100 miles from the Pentagon, visitors from D.C. or Northern Virginia can easily reach Carlisle by car or air. Students can regularly travel to D.C., individually or as part of a group, when required. As the Army’s center for advanced leadership education, the ability for students and staff to directly interact with Army and DoD leadership is crucial for USAWC’s education, research, and directed policy and planning missions.

"As with all institutions of higher education, a principal strength of USAWC is the core faculty and staff.The key areas of research specializations among USAWC staff are critical to supporting Army and Defense Department needs; many are concentrated in unique areas that are difficult to find elsewhere either within the defense establishment or at civilian institutions.

"As part of its core education mission, USAWC has become a pillar for international military education by hosting students from a wide range of partner nations.The USAWC International Fellows program began with six students enrolled in the 1977–78 academic year and has expanded to 80 students in recent classes. By hosting senior military leaders, many of whom go on to much higher level strategic leadership roles in their home countries, USAWC is instrumental in building bilateral and multilateral ties with allied foreign military services.

"USAWC’s continuing role in international education is critical to enhancing DoD coalition efforts around the world. International students are typically some of the most competitive officers in their home nations and continue into advanced leadership positions later in their careers. Students are funded either by their awarded governments or through IMET (International Military Education and Training) funding provided by the DoD.

"Through the Center for Strategic Leadership, USAWC hosts the premier wargaming facility in the U.S. Army. Centered at Collins Hall, the Wargaming complex was built around the relocation of World Wide Military Command and Control hardware from the U.S. European Command in 1993. Today, the facility is an education and technology laboratory supporting senior leader education, research, and strategic communications initiatives. The wargaming infrastructure unique to the facility allows students, faculty, and staff real-world operational connectivity with major joint theater commands.

"One ongoing challenge identified by USAWC leadership was the ability of the institution to hire the best civilian talent given federal pay limits. An important role of USAWC in advanced officer education is providing diverse perspectives uniquely provided by civilian faculty and research staff. Competitive hiring is seen as critical to maintaining a diversity in teaching and curriculum that enhances the strategic-level focus of USAWC…. the limitations of the federal salary scale remains a weakness for the institution to be competitive with other major research universities.

"USAHEC coordinates the Army Heritage Museum, the USAWC Library and the U.S. Army Military History Institute. Though the Army maintains over 57 individual museums, the Army Heritage Museum is currently the only Army museum that is not mission- or base-specific and is dedicated to telling the story of the American soldier. The museum’s tens of thousands of artifacts range from an M60 tank to buttons from the American Revolution. The archival piece of USAHEC’s collection includes about 12.5 million documents and 1.7 million photographs. Moreover, the USAWC Library is the largest in the Army with about 500,000 holdings. The USAHEC also has specialized staff, such as two of the Army’s only four conservators.

“The Army has identified excess capacity across its force structure, but there has been no downsizing of the core education mission at USAWC. No Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission final report has ever designated USAWC for relocation, nor any major downsizing at Carlisle Barracks….”

Community Impacts

“The continuing presence of USAWC has developed into extensive integration with its host community of Carlisle, and has provided additional impacts across Cumberland County …. USAWC has become a critical part of the greater Carlisle and Cumberland County community, and in particular its schools…. This integration of students and their families is an important part of the education provided, especially to visiting international students during their time at USAWC.”

“The Army’s Dunham Clinic … is the center for Army medical support in Central Pennsylvania including smaller clinics at the Defense Logistics Agency headquarters … and at the Pennsylvania National Guard installation at Fort Indiantown Gap. The clinic supports over 11,000 enrollees, including not only the local population of Active Duty service members, but also retirees from across Pennsylvania.”


“USAWC has continued to adapt and change as the needs of the Army and the nation’s military services have evolved,” wrote the study authors. “An enduring strength of USAWC centers on its core instructional and research workforce, which has continued to develop at Carlisle for over six decades. Carlisle provides an attractive and cost-effective location to continue building this core workforce, which will become ever more important as the Army, and the nation, grapple with the most difficult challenges shaping national defense policy formation and strategy.”The report further noted that, “local cost of living and quality of life are critical to maintaining the quality of education and research provided there.”

The UPitt study’s chapter on the Army War College and Carlisle Barracks concludes with a nod to the support of the Carlisle-York Area Local Defense Group, noting that, “… continuing enhancement of relations between the installation and the community can lead to greater support should the need arise.”

The full report and installation reports are available at -- https://ucsur.pitt.edu/pa_military_2018.php


  • 911TH Airlift Wint, Pittsburg International Airport
  • 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pittsburgh International Airport
  • 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Coraopolis
  • Letterkenny Army Depot, Chambersburg
  • The Army War College & Carlisle Barracks, Cumberland County
  • Naval Support Activity, Mechanicsburg
  • Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna, New Cumberland
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing, Harrisburg International Airport
  • Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania National Guard
  • Tobyhanna Army Depot, Monroe County
  • 111th Attack Wing, Horsham
  • Naval Support Activity, Philadelphia
  • Navy Yard Annex, Philadelphia

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