It's the biggest employer in Georgia, and leaders are working to keep it that way. Hundreds showed up for the 2nd Annual Robins Region Progress Report to learn how to protect Robins Air Force Base.
The base employees more than 25,000 Middle Georgians. In 2010 the base generated more than $4 billion for the State.
Executive Director of 21st Century Partnership, MaryTherese Tebbe, says, "We have a huge responsibility as a defense community to ensure the military value of Robins Air Force Base.
Senator Saxby Chambliss and Congressman Austin Scott attended the event and say the national debt cut into RAFB.
Both say it's up to this region to protect the base.
"Being a part of a defense community is certainly more than waving a flag when leadership roles into town," says Tebbe.
Robins Air Force Base faces several challenges. It's the worst air logistic center in the country when comes to delivering aircraft on time, and it's also in last place when it comes to work issues and OSHA violations.
Major General Robert McMahon says the base is striving to make improvements. He says of the 39 OSHA violations 37 have already been fixed.
"What we've done over the last year is taken the approach that says we need to ensure that we have a safe and secure work environment," says McMahon.
The base also continues to struggle with efficiency and during a time when every penny counts it's a problem that's tough to swallow.
McMahon says, "It's equally important wherever possible to be as efficient as possible so that we're not wasting resources. So can we do a better job."
In an effort to get more jobs and missions the base is trying to expand and buy 270 acres of land. Officials say they hope to own 70 acres by April 2012.
"One of the opportunities is to initiate that energy to be able to do the kind of things that we need to do," say McMahon.
That also means continuing to keep Robins Air Force Base off the Environmental Protection Agency's watch list.
McMahon says, "What we are able to do is ensure that we are exceeding war fighter standards and expectations."