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Cumberland Valley is Home to a Strong Military Community

Strategic Location for Military
Cumberland Valley has rich ties to the military community. With three military installations located within the County, this area has become a place where people can advance, reunite, retire, and learn about the country’s military past and future. In 2021, Carlisle was ranked #12 in the Best Places for Retired Military to Live in the Country by Money Inc. Factors included location, quality of life, outdoor recreation, and a low cost of living.

US Army Heritage & Education CenterCumberland Valley’s economy has been greatly influenced by the military for centuries, dating back to even before the Revolutionary War. The most renowned of the three major military installations located in or around the county is the Carlisle Barracks. It was founded in 1757 as a supply post. The other two facilities, Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg and DLA Distribution Susquehanna, were established more recently. The former dates back to the start of World War II, while the latter was initially constructed as a supply depot during World War I. Further information about these military installations and their importance to Cumberland Valley’s economy is available below.


  • The large portion of federal government employment in Cumberland County is a result of our three military installations.
  • These combined installations employ over 9,000 individuals locally and over 18,000 in Pennsylvania
  • Combined, these installations provide over $2.3 billion in economic output and $1.4 billion in labor income annually
  • Browse the individual installations below for economic impact numbers.

Carlisle Barracks-300_2Nestled in the beautiful Cumberland Valley, Carlisle Barracks is one of our nation’s oldest military installations. Since 1757, Carlisle Barracks has witnessed pioneering concepts in military training and education, and innovative measures to prepare for a changing world.

In the spring of 1951, the U.S. Army War College, the senior educational institution of the U.S. Army,  relocated to Carlisle Barracks. Established in 1903 and formerly located in Washington, D.C., the college had functioned as part of the General Staff during its early years. It chiefly prepared selected officers for high command. Distinguished graduates of that period included John J. Pershing (Class of 1905), Dwight D. Eisenhower (1927), and Omar N. Bradley (1934). Classes were suspended in 1940 during the preparedness mobilization for World War II, and not resumed until a decade later at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for the 1950-51 academic year.

At Carlisle Barracks, the Army War College grew steadily as it performed its mission of preparing officers for leadership at the highest levels. The college soon outgrew its main academic building (the current Upton Hall) and transferred to the newly constructed Root Hall in 1967. Two specialized agencies evolved into integral parts of the Army War College: the Strategic Studies Institute, first formed in 1954; and the Military History Institute, established in 1967. The Center for Strategic Leadership, a state-of-the-art war gaming complex that opened in 1994, contributed another dimension to the college and to Carlisle Barracks’ history as a distinctive U.S. Army campus.

The Carlisle Barracks also stretches out to include the nearby US Army Heritage & Education Center. This is the primary facility for US Army research and includes the indoor Soldier Experience Gallery, library and archives, changing exhibits and the outdoor mile-long Army Heritage Trail with full-scale military exhibits.

Economic Impact

  • A total of 2,868 jobs within the state of Pennsylvania, generating over $229 million in labor income annually
  • $521 million in overall economic output within Pennsylvania

Carlisle Barracks & US Army War College
122 Forbes Ave, Carlisle, PA 17013
View Website

U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center (part of the Carlisle Barracks)
950 Soldier’s Dr, Carlisle, PA 17013
View Website


NSA MechanicsburgBy the early 1940s it was abundantly clear the Navy needed inland supply depots. With the advent of the “Five Ocean” Navy, overcrowded coastal Navy Yards and Depots were in need of relief. The Mechanicsburg area was one of five locations chosen for new Depots. Close to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the railroad yards at Enola, the Pennsylvania farm land offered an ideal location. Naval Supply Depot, Mechanicsburg was commissioned on 1 October 1942.

Presently NSA Mechanicsburg serves approximately 4,300 civilian, military, and industry partners assigned to over 30 tenant activities or commands. The largest of these are the Naval Inventory Control Point Mechanicsburg, which serves to procure, manage, and supply spare parts for submarines and ships worldwide with approximately 1,300 personnel; the Navy Supply Information Systems Activity, with approximately 800 personnel; and Naval Supply Systems Command headquarters, which has a complement of approximately 300 personnel.

Under the leadership of the current Commanding Officer, Captain James Smart, Supply Corps, USN, the NSA Mechanicsburg mission is to provide an operationally ready, secure shore infrastructure built upon a streamlined shore installation management organization committed to quality of life for our military members and civilian staffs and quality of community developed through extensive interaction and involvement with the community.

Economic Impact

  • Activities at NSAM generate 8,371 jobs within Pennsylvania and over $667.2 million in labor income annually
  • 7,883 of these jobs, and $635.8 million in labor income annually, are estimated to be generated within Cumberland County
  • Activities at NSAM represent nearly $1.21 billion in economic output and generate $920 million in Gross Regional Product (GRP), or value-added production, within Pennsylvania each year

Naval Support Activity, Mechanicsburg
5450 Carlisle Pike, Bldg. 306C, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
View Website


DLA (300)DLA Distribution Susquehanna, with facilities at New Cumberland and Mechanicsburg, provides military and commercial repair parts, clothing and textiles, medical supplies, and industrial and electronic components to military customers throughout the United States and the world.

DLA Distribution Susquehanna is home to the largest distribution facility in the Department of Defense – the Eastern Distribution Center, located at New Cumberland. Container consolidation points for both the Army and the Air Force are operated at DLA Distribution Susquehanna, consolidating material from U.S. facilities into sea van containers and Air Force pallets for overseas shipments.

The organization supports the fielding of new weapons systems for the Army through the assembly of repair parts, tools and technical manuals at the Unit Materiel Fielding Point and manages the Navy’s Publications and Forms mission. DLA Distribution Susquehanna is also one of DLA Distribution’s two sites where Unitized Rations are built, which are used in the field feeding systems for the Army and Marines.

DLA Distribution Susquehanna is also the host for the New Cumberland installation and is responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the small city within its gates. Included are a full range of quality of life services to military members, their families and civilian employees, including child care, a fitness center, golf course, bowling center, and a swimming pool.

Economic Impact

  • DLA Susquehanna generates 7,626 jobs and over $570 million in labor income annually within Pennsylvania
  • Over 7,200 jobs and $544 million in annual labor income are estimated to accrue within York and Cumberland counties.
  • Operations at DLA Susquehanna represent over $1.1 billion in annual economic output, which generates an estimated $803 million in Gross Regional Product (GRP), or value-added production, annually to the Pennsylvania economy

Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna, New Cumberland
2001 Mission Dr., New Cumberland, PA 17070
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Original air date, 11/6/21 – Jamie Keener, former CAEDC CEO and Al Bienstock, Hampden Township Commissioner discuss the Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group (CYALDG) and the three military bases CYALDG supports. Highlights include the economic impact of military institutions in Cumberland County.


Original air date, 11/20/21 – Jamie Keener, former CAEDC CEO and Nate Silcox, Hampden Township Commissioner discuss the Hampden Township Veteran’s Recognition Commission and their support of local military efforts, including the Hampden Township Veteran’s Park.


Learn more about military’s impact in the Cumberland Valley.


Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group

In 2014, CAEDC worked with the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission to establish the Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group (CYALDG)  to coordinate, advocate, develop and implement recommendations to enhance the military value of the installations in the area. Find more information on the CYALDG.

Note: Economic impact data has been updated from DCED’s 2018 PA Military Installation Impact Reports

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