HILL AIR FORCE BASE — When it comes to advocating for Hill Air Force Base and other Utah military installations, there may be no other organization that works as hard as the Utah Defense Alliance.
The UDA, which has been around for about 25 years, is led by a team of volunteers — community leaders who are interested in strengthening military and its national defense objectives, as well as expanding investment and employment opportunities in defense and aerospace related industries.
“I don’t know of any place else in the country that has a better group of people who are willing to work so hard to advocate for military missions,” said Tage Flint, UDA president. “They do a tremendous job.”
Flint said the organization has grown considerably in its reach and advocacy for military missions in the state. Teams work directly with Utah’s state legislature and federal delegation to ensure they are informed on what the military bases are doing and what their needs might be.
“We are able to give them a civilian perspective of why the community supports everything that goes on (at Hill) and help explain why these missions are important,” Flint said.
The UDA sponsors an annual “Meet the Military” event at the Utah Capitol building where organizations and agencies from military installations throughout Utah get a chance to meet government officials and discuss plans and needs.
One recent example of state commitment to the ongoing military missions is the construction of a new software facility at Hill Air Force Base. The building was made possible by State of Utah appropriations and associated with the enhanced use lease area on the west side of the base. The UDA worked with Utah state legislature, which appropriated $21.5 million to help fund the building.
The facility is part of the development of Falcon Hill, one of the largest commercial Enhanced Use Lease projects in the Air Force. It comprises about a million square feet of commercial space either completed or under development. For just the software building, the potential benefit to the State of Utah in new salaries, income tax, and sales tax can reach an estimated $20 million in roughly three years.
“Over the past two plus years, I have seen the positive impacts the UDA has made in support of military communities across Utah,” said Chief Master Sgt. Walker, 75th Air Base Wing command chief. “This organization is more than just a group of volunteers willing to help…they are our teammates and we could not do what we do without them.”
Members of the UDA have several on-going initiatives, including an effort to secure and increase work load to the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, supporting the ongoing development of the GBSD missile replacement program, working to help Dugway Proving Grounds get better services for their military and civilian employees, and others.
“We recognize the importance of the defense industry and want to be able to see that thrive and continue on for decades,” Flint said. “We know it’s important for the economic growth and viability of the region.”
He said there will never be a shortage of people willing to advocate for the military missions because Utah is a patriotic place and has always valued defense and what it brings to the nation.