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“We are home to the largest concentration of the United States military in the world. It’s part of the fabric of who we are as a city and who we are as San Diegans.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer
Sept. 23, 2015

San Diego’s defense cluster continues to play a critical role in the region’s innovation and military economy and the United States’ national security priorities. San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military assets in the world and the largest federal military workforce in the country.1 When considering the overall ripple effects of the defense cluster in San Diego, about 20 percent of San Diego’s gross regional product (GRP) is the result of defense-related spending. Jobs supported as a result of defense spending include uniformed military, federal government employees and defense contractors, as well as employees in healthcare, engineering, construction, hospitality and tourism.
As the region’s defense cluster catalyzes and inspires local entrepreneurs, emerging industries like unmanned systems and cybersecurity are burgeoning in San Diego and expanding into international markets. Local expertise in these fields provides strategic advantages for product development, job growth and the commercialization of defense technology.

Industry Highlights & Contributions

  • Defense contracts: In fiscal year 2016, $8.6 billion in procurement contracts was projected to flow into San Diego.2
  • Compensation: In fiscal year 2016, direct spending by DoD in compensation for the more than 134,000 active duty and civilians, support for veteran services, and defense contracts was an estimated $23.3 billion.2
  • Defense spending: San Diego County receives more defense spending than any other county in the U.S. with the exception of Fairfax County, Virginia.3
  • Pacific Fleet: San Diego is home port to the Pacific Fleet and is the primary training ground for much of U.S. Marine Corps.2



AFCEA San Diego
The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) is a premier information technology, communications, and electronics association for professionals in international government, industry, and academia worldwide. AFCEA serves its members by providing a forum for the ethical exchange of information.
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

AUVSI is the world’s largest nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. Serving more than 7,500 members from government organizations, industry and academia, AUVSI is committed to fostering, developing and promoting unmanned systems and robotic technologies.

National Defense Industrial Association, San Diego Chapter

NDIA is the trusted leader in defense and national security associations. NDIA, comprised of its affiliates, chapters, divisions, and 1,600 corporate and 85,000 individual members, is a non-partisan, nonprofit, educational association that aims to educate its constituencies on all aspects of national security.

San Diego Military Advisory Council
SDMAC supports, promotes and represents the common business and other interests of the military, its quality of life issues and the defense industry community in the San Diego area.


Introduction 1. San Diego Military Advisory Council, “San Diego Military Economic Impact Study”, 2016 | Highlights: 2. San Diego Military Advisory Council, “San Diego Military Economic Impact Study”, 2016 3. U.S. Department of Defense OEA, “Defense Spending by State,” FY 2015