Military Growth

When Ft. Lewis Army Base and McChord Airforce Base combined into Joint Base Lewis-McChord on January 31, 2010, the base became the largest military installation on the west coast of the United States with more than 415,000 acres, including Yakima Training Center in central Washington. It will support a population, on-base and in neighboring communities, of more than 125,000 people including military personnel, families, civilian and contract employees, and retirees and their families. This growth will present immense opportunities and challenges to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the communities in the surrounding region.

Final Growth Coordination Plan and South Sound Military & Communities Partnership website

Military economic impact to the area

The military creates a stable source of employment and tax revenue for the local economies. In a 2004 report the Washington State Office of Financial Management found that Joint Base Lewis-McChord directly and indirectly account for over 74,000 jobs in Pierce County and over 87,000 statewide. The total impacts in terms of labor earnings sum to nearly $2.9 billion within Pierce County (about 30 percent of the county total wage disbursements) and nearly $3.4 billion statewide.


Direct Impacts of Major Military Bases in Pierce County, 2003

Employment, uniformed and civilian




$1.876 billion

Military retiree pensions

$524.9 million

TriCare payments to private providers

$31.1 million


Contracts for goods and services

Pierce County vendors

$25.2 million


$52.1 million

On-base retail spending

$200.9 million

Net direct impact*

$2.2312 billion

* Reduced by on-base retail spending

The above table does not include the almost $3 billion on base construction through "Milcon" Military Construction funds slated for Joint Base Lewis-McChord or the $11 million received annually to school districts in Pierce County in impact aid for schooling of the dependents of military personnel.