Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive about WFDA

Want to know more about living, working and raising a family as a military member or veteran in Northwest Florida?

Have questions about employment, job training or education opportunities in Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, or the surrounding communities in the Florida Panhandle?

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What is the West Florida Defense Alliance?

The West Florida Defense Alliance, or WFDA, was established in 2018 and is the lead organization for all military-related issues throughout the region. While the community has supported the region’s military installations for generations, WFDA was created as a legacy organization that coordinates the community’s efforts.

WFDA focuses primarily on expanding the military presence in the region by way of mission growth, increasing the value of defense contracts performed, and attracting military retirees and veterans to the area. WFDA is the vehicle with which the community can channel its efforts to accomplish these ends.

Why is it important to protect and grow the region’s military assets?

As of 2016, military spending across Escambia and Santa Rosa counties supported over 76,000 jobs and generated approximately $9 billion in economic impact. When combined, these impacts account for just under 40% of the region’s total economy.

Is WFDA a registered lobbying group?

No, WFDA is not a registered lobbying group. However, WFDA works closely with elected representatives as well as community and military leaders.

How does the economic impact of our region’s military presence compare to other communities across the state?

The State of Florida has long recognized the economic importance of defense spending to the state’s economy. In 2016, defense spending generated nearly $85 billion in economic impact across the state. At $9 billion, Escambia and Santa Rosa counties account for nearly 11% of the state’s $85 billion impact.

Is WFDA a non-profit organization? If so, is my contribution tax deductible?

Yes, WFDA is housed under the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, with the Chamber’s Foundation Board maintaining all fiduciary responsibility for the organization. If your contributions are made as an ordinary and necessary business expense, they may be tax deductible.

Is the Chamber appropriately staffed to execute the mission of WFDA?

Yes, your contribution helps support one full-time staff member as well as contract support in the form of a qualified consultant. The consultant provides expert advice on organizational processes, meeting facilitation, strategic communications, and military acumen. The consultant also acts as an extension of the Chamber staff, thereby acting as a force multiplier.

Why do we need an Alliance? Doesn’t the Chamber already provide these services?

Since 1998, the state of Florida has funded the legislatively mandated Florida Defense Alliance with the purpose of increasing military value, enhancing base capabilities, and promoting multi-service synergies for Florida’s military bases while supporting and enhancing the quality of life for Florida’s military families. By forming an official Defense Alliance, our region can better market itself and its efforts to external stakeholders as well as better align itself with state efforts.

How will my contribution to WFDA help protect the military presence in the region?

Your support allows WFDA to carry out initiatives specifically designed to protect and grow the region’s military assets and the economic benefits they bring to the region. This includes advocacy efforts, public-public/public-private (P4) community partnerships, quality of life, veterans and transitioning personnel issues, quality of regional education for military-connected families, and other issues as they arise.

Does WFDA assist veterans and transitioning personnel with job placement?

Not directly, however, committees within the construct of WFDA may determine veterans and transitioning personnel are a priority. As a result, future committee efforts may focus on how the community can best assist with this priority.

Does WFDA provide financial assistance to veterans?

No; however, committees within the construct of WFDA may choose to act as a clearinghouse for veterans’ issues and develop a vehicle by which to better connect local veterans to VA services.

How much does WFDA membership cost?

WFDA offers numerous membership tiers with varying costs. Depending on the size of your organization and level of involvement you desire, membership tiers cost anywhere between $100 and $25,000 annually.

What benefits do I receive as a WFDA member?

Benefits are dependent upon the level of contribution, but generally speaking, membership can involve participation in WFDA Leadership Council meetings, standing committees, Washington, DC fly-ins, and much more. Additionally, your contributions will go to fund initiatives designed to protect and grow the region’s military presence and increase the economic benefits shared by our entire community.

Please see the Invest in WFDA page for more information on the benefits of supporting WFDA.