Thursday, February 11, 2016

Maybe The Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Isn't About Attracting Automakers At All

Those who might be reading for the first time or come from somewhere far away may have never heard of a project known as the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite-- a 2,000 acre industrial park being built roughly 20 miles south of Greensboro, North Carolina on the Guilford and Randolph County lines and bordering the town of Liberty, NC.

The project, which is being pitched as a means to lure an automaker to North Carolina, is being funded with roughly $24 Million Dollars from the City of Greensboro, $13 Million from the State owned North Carolina Railroad, $200 Million from the State of North Carolina plus contributions from Guilford County, Randolph County, the City of Asheboro and other local municipalities.

Or as the Greensboro News & Record put it:

"Economic developers estimate construction costs would be upward of $100 million, and that’s not including incentives a company might demand from the state."

But what if, what if this megasite isn't about building cars at all. What if the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite is being built as a major military weapons manufacturing facility instead?

Sound far fetched? What if I told you that the largest petroleum storage facility east of the Mississippi River is located in Greensboro? It is, you know.

Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world and home of the US Army airborne forces and Special Forces, as well as U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command and Womack Army Medical Center is only 67 miles away via what will soon be all improved 4 lane highway comparable to any Interstate highway in the nation.

Pope Air Force Base is adjacent to Bragg and with the news that Special Ops are getting increased funding while other bases are getting cuts and shut downs it doesn't look as if Bragg is going anywhere anytime soon. And while the Air Force is cutting back on operations at Pope, the air base must remain open as it is used for Army troop transport.

Walmart is closing stores across the country and all over North Carolina but Walmart is quickly adding new stores all around the Fort Bragg area as if they are expecting a huge increase in population the rest of us don't know about.

Purolator Facet in Greensboro and often touted as a major success in economic development by our local economic development agencies and politicians, manufactures OEM parts, filters and valves, for the Air Force's 400 Eisenhower-era KC-135 aircraft, M1 Abrams Tanks, Russian Tanks, Trident Nuclear Submarines, Apache Helicopters and many more.

General Dynamics Missions Systems has 2 plants in Greensboro.

Curtiss-Wright Flight Systems has a plant in Shelby and another in Gastonia where they make all sorts of military hardware.

Blackwater is headquartered in North Carolina.

Dick Cheny's Halliburton has a presence in North Carolina.

Allegheny Technologies in nearby Monroe  "is a world leader in the production of nickel-based and cobalt-based superalloys, titanium-based alloys, and specialty steels for the aerospace, oil & gas..." well you get the picture. The picture above an F-35 I snagged from their website.

North Carolina has a total of 114,654 active duty military personnel and 22,030 civilian military personnel. Only Virginia, Texas and California have more active duty military personnel than North Carolina. If you were a governor of a state that ranked high in active duty military and wanted to keep them in your state, how might you do it? One way might be to lure more military contractors and key military component manufacturers to your state.

Of the Ten Companies Profiting Most from War,

United Technologies has plants in Mebane and Charlotte.  Its Pratt & Whitney division has plants in Mooresville, Charlotte and Goldsboro. And UT operates Sikorsky Aircraft plants in Jacksonville and Cherry Point.

L-3 Communication, the 9th most profitable war contractor has no less than 4 plants in North Carolina.

Finmeccanica, number 8 on the list has plants in North Carolina.

I couldn't find that number 7, EADS, has any North Carolina plants but I did find third party companies who supply parts for EADS.

Raytheon, #6 and "the world’s largest manufacturer of guided missiles" has plants in Raleigh and Fayettville.

And don't forget that for every one of these companies there are dozens of smaller manufacturers making parts for the machines and weapons these companies send to war.

I mentioned General Dynamics earlier. They're #5 on the list.  "Currently, 74% of the company’s sales are arms sales. General Dynamics owns Electric Boat and Bath Iron Works, two of the largest naval vessel builders in the world. General Dynamics is notable known for its Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, the Seawolf-class submarine, the M1 Abrams tank and the Arleigh-Burke-class destroyer."

General Dynamics has no less than 8 plants in North Carolina.

Northrop Grumman #4 on the list and "...the fourth-largest weapons contractor in the U.S." has no less than 5 North Carolina facilities. Aircraft carriers and drones are their thing.

As far as I can ascertain, Boeing, at #3, doesn't have any manufacturing facilities in North Carolina but they do employ people in military analyst positions here in the state.

The #2 company on the list of the Ten Companies Profiting Most from War, BAE Systems, has no less than 4 plants in North Carolina.

Finally, Lockheed Martin, the #1 "...largest arms-producing and military services company in the world..." has no less than 4 plants in North Carolina.

And from The Economic Impact of the Military on North Carolina by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
"The military supports 540,000 jobs in North Carolina, $30 billion in state personal income, and $48 billion in gross state product.
 340,000 of military-supported jobs occur in the private sector.
Professional and Technical Services, Administrative and Waste Services, and Construction are the top three military-supported private industry sectors."
As our economy continues to become more and more dependent on military spending, drafting women into military service again becomes a topic of political discourse: We're already hearing it in the Presidential debates. Only a barbaric nation builds an economy dependent on the constant invasion of other nations-- the draft, be it of men or women, is but a consequence of said policy.

Is North Carolina building an economy that will someday force the United States Military to draft women?

Update: Friday Feburary 12, 2016, I have just learned that  Bonnie Renfro of the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation has pushed Randolph County Commissioners to include weapons manufacturing as part of the description of the land use requirements for a recent rezoning of properties within the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite. Don't want your daughters to go to war? Stop this megasite.