The Black Hills Region Named 2024 ‘Great American Defense Community’

For Immediate Release: 

April 30, 2024


The Black Hills Region Named 2024 ‘Great American Defense Community’

Washington, D.C. – The Black Hills Region of South Dakota, home to Ellsworth Air Force Base and the South Dakota National Guard Camp Rapid, is one of three communities across the country selected as a 2024 Great American Defense Community. 

The Association of Defense Communities (ADC) announced the three selected communities in conjunction with USAA, the program’s official sponsor, at the Defense Communities National Summit earlier this month. The 2024 class also includes Elizabeth City, N.C. and Fort Smith, Ark. 

“The strength of our military starts at home, in America’s defense communities,” said ADC President Karen Holt. “We are proud to recognize the Black Hills Region in South Dakota as a community that goes above and beyond for service members, and we are thrilled to share their story.”

The Great American Defense Communities program was launched by ADC in 2016 to recognize and celebrate the communities and regions that support military installations for their exceptional commitment to improving quality of life for military members and their families. 

“It is an honor that the Black Hills Region has been recognized as a 2024 Great American Defense Community,” said Scott Landguth, South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority Executive Director. “The Black Hills is proud to be the home to the military families who live in our community. I know we will continue to support our service members and veterans. Their missions are critically important, and as a community, it is our mission to make sure we are the best place possible for them to conduct that mission. This award is a reflection of the work we have done and will continue to do.”

Communities are chosen through a competitive nomination process based on community building efforts, such as educational and employment opportunities, and support and collaboration with neighboring military installations.  

About ADC

ADC is the connection point for leaders from communities, states, the military and industry on community-military issues and installation management to enhance knowledge, information sharing and best practices. With nearly 300 communities, states, regions and affiliated industry organizations as members, ADC represents every major defense community and state in the country. Visit to learn more.  Facebook |LinkedIn |X


About USAA 

Founded in 1922 by a group of military officers, USAA is among the leading providers of insurance, banking and retirement solutions and serves more than 13.5 million members of the U.S. military, veterans who have honorably served and their families. Headquartered in San Antonio, USAA has offices in eight U.S. cities and three overseas locations and employs more than 37,000 people worldwide. Each year, the company contributes to national and local nonprofits in support of military families and communities where employees live and work. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or X (@usaa), or visit


About South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority

Established in 2009 by the South Dakota legislature, the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority (SDEDA) is dedicated to safeguarding Ellsworth Air Force Base’s (AFB) vital role in national defense. SDEDA’s mission includes ensuring a conducive environment for the U.S. Department of Defense’s operations, fostering collaboration for community safety, promoting economic vitality, and preparing for potential mission expansion. Originally slated for closure in 2005, Ellsworth AFB was saved in part due to proactive measures led by the state, including the creation of SDEDA. Reporting to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the SDEDA Board of Directors is comprised of seven members appointed by the Governor and operates as a public entity with authority over land use and economic preservation around Ellsworth AFB.


About Black Hills Military Advisory Coalition

The Black Hills Military Advisory Coalition (BH MAC), established in 2021, unites various military support organizations to enhance support for Ellsworth Air Force Base and the South Dakota National Guard. Divided into pillars focusing on quality of life, community outreach, and defense economy, BH MAC streamlines resources and fosters collaboration. Led by a steering committee, the coalition facilitates regular dialogue between community and military leaders, with an annual budget exceeding $100k dedicated to supporting events and initiatives benefiting military personnel and their families in the Black Hills region.

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Tiffani Robertson

Director of Events, South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority or