Gov. Jay Nixon announced Friday an executive order creating a Missouri Military Partnership to protect, retain and enhance military operations in the state.
He appointed State Treasurer Clint Zweifel to lead the partnership.
"Obviously defense is something that has been a big part of our economy and the nation's defense, and Missouri is proud to be on the forefront," Nixon said. "It's also an essential part of moving our economy forward."
He said he is determined to do everything in his power to protect, and where possible, enhance Missouri's military bases and force-strength - active duty, Reserve and National Guard.
"That's why we've been working with local and federal leaders to map out a strategy to stand up for our military institutions, for those who serve in uniform and for all Missourians whose futures are linked to our troops' strength," Nixon said.
Zweifel is tasked with gathering input from communities connected to military installations such as Whiteman Air Force Base, Fort Leonard Wood and Rosecrans Air National Guard Base and submitting a report to Nixon by the end of March. He will use the assets of the state, consultants and support groups to help assemble the report.
"We see this as an opportunity to lay out and show what we have done as a state and what we can do in the future to make sure Missouri is a cost-effective (option), in a strong way with a strong labor force and strong civilian labor force, and has an education team to make sure this is the best place to have those missions," Nixon said.
He said the partnership will be a way to grow the military footprint in the Show-Me State.
"By providing the U.S. military with a full picture of Missouri's advantages, we will compete," he said.
According to a recent economic impact study by the state, the U.S. Department of Defense spends nearly $15 billion a year in Missouri to operate military installations, pay personnel, and purchase goods and services. That spending supports nearly 275,000 direct and indirect jobs and has a total economic impact of more than $39 billion.
"It's apt time for us to make sure we're doing everything positive to keep Missouri in line," Nixon said.