When it comes to the defense of our nation Bay County plays a major role, being home to both Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity. Wednesday, all military eyes were once again on the area, as an important conference came to town.
Bay county is no stranger to the world of expeditionary warfare.
"Back many years ago, I was here testing the amphibious assault landing craft, which later on became the landing craft air cushion," Michael Plackett, CEO of Quantum Engineering & Design. "I'm sure everyone living in Panama City knows the LCAC."
It's why Plackett says having the National Expeditionary Warfare conference here was an easy choice.
"Expeditionary Warfare is the ability to go anywhere with the equipment you need for a specific operation, and a lot of it is centered here in Panama City, Florida,"Plackett said.
The conference, now in it's 17th year, brought in military minds and industry leaders to discuss the future of war, and the panhandle's major role. Today's guest speaker was Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work.
He says expeditionary warfare is a near constant throughout U.S. history.
"The United States military hasn't fought a major engagement on the ground inside the United States since 1889," Work said.
While that fact has remained stable for more than 200 years, Work says that us's Naval-Marine strategy is evolving.
"A key aspect of our strategy is to stop focusing so much in other parts of the world, really start to focus in on Asia," Work said.
Both marine and naval forces are set to be shifted in large numbers to the pacific, but it's a move that may be affected by budget cuts. However, Work says no matter what Bay County will be key to the nations overall strategy.
"We are always going to have a strong Panama City," Work said. "I just don't know how many people will be here. That will all depend on the budget."
The last day of the conference is set for Thursday.