Offutt continues to influence local economy

  • Published
  • By J.B. Artley, 55th Wing Public Affairs

What was originally established by the U.S. Army as Fort Crook 128 years ago with just a few hundred Soldiers has today become one of the driving forces for the Nebraska economy.

According to the latest economic impact statement for fiscal year 2021 produced by the 55th Comptroller Squadron, what is today known as Offutt Air Force Base has a $2.6 billion influence on the local economy.

Offutt is home to the 55th Wing, Air Combat Command’s largest wing, who provides support to more than 50 partner units across the base including the U.S. Strategic Command, 557th Weather Wing and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

With more than 6,000 military personnel and almost 4,000 civilian employees, Offutt is Omaha’s largest employer.

“Offutt Air Force Base is critical not only to the infrastructure of the United States military, but to the local economy of the Greater Omaha area as well,” said Todd Johnson, Economic Development for the Greater Omaha Chamber senior vice president. “Offutt is a staple in our community. We are proud to support the men and women in uniform who serve our country at Offutt and to do our part in keeping this world-class Air Force base right here in Nebraska.”

Total annual payroll for all the military and civilian agencies combined is more than $895 million. With most of that income being spent outside the gates of Offutt, the indirect job creation is estimated to be 23,500 with an annual average wage of $56,992. 

“This is my second 5-year tour at Offutt,” said Maj. Eric Armstrong, 55th Wing Flood Recovery Program Management Office acting director. “We are grateful for such a supportive community around Offutt, and many of us are the connective tissue between the local community and the base.”

The Flood Recovery PMO is tasked with rebuilding Offutt from the devastating 500-year flood of 2019 that destroyed a third of the base, worth approximately $700 million. The Air Force began to award contracts for the rebuild of the southeastern portion of the base in September 2021, which will lead to 26 new facilities separated into eight campuses scheduled for completion around 2027.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to ensure the relevance of Offutt Air Force Base, the 55th Wing for the Air Force, Omaha and surrounding area,” Armstrong added. “It’s great to have mission partners like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work alongside and push the rebuild effort.”

“It’s phenomenal that we have the opportunity to deliver state-of-the-art facilities for the Airmen of the 55th Wing and our fellow mission partners,” said Col. Kristen Thompson, 55th Wing commander. “By providing modern facilities for our military and civilian personnel, it will enable us to have more efficient and productive operations.”

In addition to the Omaha metropolitan area, Offutt’s economic footprint expanded even further in March 2021 when all flying operations moved to Lincoln as part of a $144 million construction project to replace the 80-year-old runway.

All told, the Air Force spent $31 million for modifications to the facilities in Lincoln and leasing temporary space which will continue to be used for all Offutt flying operations until September 2022. 

The 2021 economic impact statement trifold can be found here: