A military helicopter flying in the sky in Florida
November 9, 2020

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Awards

Tallahassee, Fla. (November 9, 2020) –  Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that $1,250,000 has been awarded through the Florida Defense Support Task Force (FDSTF) Grant Program to five projects to protect military installations across the state. The award recipients include the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners, Clay County Development Authority, Polk County Board of County Commissioners, Orlando Economic Partnership and the South Florida Progress Foundation.

“These grant awards demonstrate the state of Florida’s commitment to our defense communities,” said Governor DeSantis. “Florida continues to be the most military-friendly state in the country and supporting service members and their families is an honor and responsibility we hold high.”

“These grants reflect the high level of engagement communities throughout Florida have with our military,” said Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida. “As a Marine Corps veteran, I take pride in knowing my home state continues to invest in those who serve us.”

Grant funding will support community projects at Florida military installations that will provide support for military families, protect Florida’s bases from future encroachment, enhance defense industry growth, and support community resiliency efforts. For more information on the individual grant award for projects throughout the state, see below:

Santa Rosa County: $70,000 Defense Grant

$70,000 was awarded to the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners to develop and implement a Career Academy Outreach for Military Children. The program’s objectives are to support the military family through information dissemination, ensure military children are not missing opportunities in cutting-edge and relevant career and technical education, and to strengthen the partnership between military installations and Santa Rosa County School District. This project has implications to impact military families throughout North Florida.

“Santa Rosa County seeks out every opportunity to support the military mission at NAS Whiting Field as well as military installations in neighboring counties, which have a profound impact on our community. We are most appreciative of grant funding to allow us to enhance the quality of life for military families,” said Commissioner Don W. Salter of the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners.

Clay County: $500,000 Defense Grant

$500,000 was awarded to Clay County through the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program to buffer Camp Blanding from incompatible land development. Camp Blanding trains over 350,000 Florida National Guard troops, active duty military members and law enforcement units.

“In accordance with our principal purpose of promoting sound economic development of Clay County, the Clay County Development Authority is pleased to receive this grant that will strengthen the strategic partnership with Camp Blanding Joint Training Center to improve the quality of life for our citizens by securing a buffer from incompatible land development and encroachment thus protecting the installation that comprises almost one-fifth of the county and is tied to its economic viability.” said Josh Cockrell, Executive Director of the Clay County Development Authority.

Polk County:  $500,000 Defense Grant

$500,000 was awarded to Polk County Board of County Commissioners to protect Avon Park Air Force Range from encroachment through the acquisition of a conservation easement to prevent incompatible land use.

Former APAFR Commander Lt. Col. Daniel Edgar, 598th Range Squadron said, “The importance of this grant and of partners like the Florida Defense Support Task Force and Enterprise Florida cannot be overstated. Without grant funding, without partnerships, we would not have been able to work with the County and willing landowners to protect and buffer the world-class military training that occurs at Avon Park AFR.”

Orange County: $110,000 Defense Grant

$110,000 was awarded to the Orlando Economic Partnership supporting the Modeling, Simulation, and Training (MS&T) Center’s growth and expansion in Florida emphasizing its national security value and contribution to Florida’s military installations. Additionally, this funding supports Orlando Economic Partnership’s efforts to expand MS&T education starting in middle school through graduate school.

“This strong support from the Florida Defense Support Task Force recognizes the outstanding track record of Team Orlando, the National Center for Simulation and the powerful economic engine that is the Modeling and Simulation industry.  We are pleased to partner with the National Center for Simulation on this important next step in the mission to preserve, protect and set the conditions to grow,” said Tim Giuliani, President & CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership.

Miami-Dade County: $70,000 Defense Grant

$70,000 was awarded to South Florida Progress Foundation to complete a South Florida focused resilience assessment to posture quad-county installations and personnel for sustained mission accomplishment and protection of vital installations in the face of climate-driven and other resilience challenges.

“We are proud to partner with the South Florida Progress Foundation to align with Governor Ron DeSantis on an issue of such tremendous importance to our State, Defense Department, Coast Guard commands, installations, and military personnel partners in South Florida. Leadership in enhancing resilience will ultimately provide benefits state-wide to our safety, security and economic prosperity.  Florida’s military and security complex is vital to our national security. The South Florida Defense Alliance’s municipal and academic partners are already at the forefront of developing innovative solutions to some of the largest resilience challenges — and their collaborative approach has become a model world-wide.  We are especially excited by the opportunity to harness the renowned public, private and non-profit sector expertise in South Florida to support the Department of Defense locally as it looks to a more resilient future and serve as a model to replicate throughout the state,” said Richard Miller, Executive Director of the South Florida Defense Alliance.


The Florida Defense Support Task Force was created in 2011 with the mission to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state’s position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, military families, veterans and businesses that bring military and defense-related jobs to the state.

The Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program is administered by Enterprise Florida, and grants are awarded annually, on a project priority basis. For more information on the Florida Defense Support Task Force, visit www.eflorida.com/floridadefense.