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brownnga.jpgGov. Jerry Brown announced today he has convened a panel on military matters to advise the state on efforts to expand California's defense industry and to protect against federal budget cuts.

The formation of the Governor's Military Council comes as $85 billion in across-the-board, federal spending reductions start taking effect under sequestration.

"California plays a crucial role in our nation's defense, and military bases and activities are vital to our state's economy," Brown said in a prepared statement. "As federal priorities shift to cyber security and new military technology, this council will work to expand defense-industry jobs and investment in California."

The Democratic governor appointed Ellen Tauscher, a former Democratic congresswoman and undersecretary in the State Department, to chair the panel. She said in a prepared statement that the panel "will send a unified message to Washington, D.C., that highlights the value" of military bases in California.

The Department of Defense employs more than 236,000 people in the state, according to the governor's office.

The council is scheduled to convene for one year, drafting recommendations to the governor and Legislature.

The 18-member panel includes Republican and Democratic lawmakers, retired military admirals and generals and the adjutant general of the California National Guard. Their positions on the panel are unpaid.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown at a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington on Feb. 24, 2013. AP Photo/ Manuel Balce Ceneta



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