Last week I had the opportunity to spend two days visiting the Charleston, S.C., metro area as the guest of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA). Claire Gibbons, director of Global Marketing & Communications, was my hostess, and told me that if you drew a line along the 32nd parallel across the U. S. from San Diego, you would wind up at Charleston. Like San Diego, Charleston is a major port, being the deepest port along the south Atlantic coast, able to handle ships with up to 48 foot draft, depending on tides. Charleston is about 50% lower in population than San Diego (761,000 versus 1.407 million ), but is growing 3X faster than the U.S. average (14.5% versus 4.7%).
Charleston is a military town like San Diego and is home to Joint Base Charleston, one of twelve joint facilities operated by the Department of Defense; the U.S. Space & Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SPAWAR), one of the Navy’s only two cyber mission engineering centers; and nearly all U.S. Dept. of Defense and Dept. of Homeland Security agencies. These facilities represent more than 23,000 active duty, civilian and contract civilian personnel.