San Diego’s role in the Navy’s fleet sustainment mission

This is a developing story; last update was made May 2024.

In April 2023, San Diego Regional EDC and its partners hosted the Shipbuilding Regional Industrialization Pilot (SHIP) Regional Visioning event at UC San Diego Park & Market.

The day-long workshop was the first part of a multi-state effort to understand unique regional challenges facing the nation’s defense industrial base. Critical partners in the effort included a Navy Program Executive Office (PEO SSBN), California Manufacturing Technology Consultants (CMTC), Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association (SDSRA), the Office of Congressman Scott Peters (CA-50) and more. The day’s speakers included Congressman Scott Peters, Scott Frost at Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS); Jess Key, Manager of Supplier and Workforce Development at Electric Boat; Gordon Rutherford, President of SDSRA; Kyle Turner, Program Manager at PEO SSBN; and a panel discussion with members of industry.

The SHIP Regional Visioning event gathered diverse industry, education, policy makers, and civic leaders’ perspectives on critical priorities for the shipbuilding industrial base, including:

  1. Industrial base workforce
  2. Technology and innovation
  3. Strategic outsourcing
  4. Data analytics and proactive risk management
  5. Material readiness and sustainment
  6. Supply chain infrastructure and engagement


In collaboration with the Navy, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) IBAS program office launched the SHIP program to help regions address supply chain and workforce gaps across the defense shipbuilding industry. IBAS selected the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s SecureAmerica Institute to deliver data-driven and relationship-based roadmaps to scale and deploy regional workforce and technology adoption solutions that simultaneously support the near-term and future needs of the shipbuilding industrial base.

In addition to San Diego, these efforts are also taking place in the New England and Great Lakes regions. In each region, the Regional Visioning workshop is followed by series of deep dives into topics that arose during the workshop, as well as a Threatcasting activity.

The SecureAmerica Institute then delivers key event takeaways, as well as investment and solution recommendations, to the IBAS team.


IBAS, SecureAmerica Institute, and other implementation partners rely on regional champions and local experts to help guide their understanding of each region. At the SHIP Regional Visioning event, San Diego Regional EDC presented preliminary findings from its ongoing Talent Flow Analysis project in collaboration with San Diego’s major defense industrial base employers over six months.

What we learned: Poor communication between regional industry leaders and education partners drives a mismatch of talent supply and demand, exacerbated by a lack of shared strategy around industry recruitment efforts.


  • Long-term, there is shrinking interest in the skilled trades. Improved demand signaling, as well as employer engagement in career exploration at the K-12 level could open doors for more young people to be trained in the skilled trades.
  • DOD contracting methods and San Diego’s high cost of living continue to put pressure on the existing talent pipeline. This incentivizes talent to transition to different skilled trades-reliant industries or move outside the region altogether.

read the full report


During the event, breakout groups with equal representation from each group of participants (industry, education, policymakers, and civic leaders) covered the critical topics listed above in three separate phases:

  1. Obstacles: What are the consistent themes that are driving the challenges in the area? Groups saw consistent obstacles with awareness and perception, cost of living and compensation, skilled manufacturing workers, contracting and supplier support, and inconsistent demand signaling.
  1. Enablers: What entities exist that play a critical role in addressing the identified obstacles? Groups identified education and training programs, marketing and communication initiatives, technology incubators, and government and policy support as enablers.
  1. Resourcing: What resources could be adapted, scaled, or started to tackle the identified challenges? Conversations centered around workforce education, training, and recruiting program areas. Some also highlighted supply chain, policy and economic, and infrastructure program areas.

Taking Action

By the summer of 2023, the SHIP team assembled a roadmap and presented investment recommendations based on the data collected. EDC convened key partners including San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP), San Diego/Imperial Counties Community College Consortium, San Diego/Imperial Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research (COE), East County Economic Development Council, and California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) to submit five white papers indicating how funds could be deployed in the region to achieve the investment recommendations made by the SHIP team. The collaborative anticipates we will receive information about regional investments into new and existing programming by the end of Summer 2024.

In the meantime, EDC, through support from BlueForge Alliance, is conducting an employer working group that builds on the original Talent Flow Analysis project. This group will produce workforce demand data looking into 2025 and help local partners understand what interventions will be most useful in strengthening the talent pipeline of skilled tradespeople into defense industrial base companies. The results of the working group will be available in June 2024, in conjunction with the release of funding.

Interested in getting involved? Please reach out to Director of Talent Initiatives Taylor Dunne for more information.

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Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives


Investor Spotlight: General Atomics

As a nonprofit, San Diego Regional EDC is supported by investment from nearly 150 private organizations, companies, and public agencies like General Atomics. With this support, EDC provides direct services to help companies grow and thrive in San Diego by leading initiatives to enhance the region’s growth and prosperity.

General Atomics has long been an EDC investor and global leader in energy and defense research and development. In early 2023, Mayor Todd Gloria visited the DIII-D National Fusion Facility at GA’s Torrey Pines campus as part of a series of tours of the region’s leading defense innovators.

Hear about General Atomics’ leadership in the world’s clean energy future and how the company is investing in San Diego.

Tell us about General Atomics and its mission.

Headquartered in San Diego, General Atomics (GA) specializes in diversified research and development for energy, defense, and aircraft. As the world’s largest private participant in fusion energy research, GA aims to provide sustainable, reliable carbon-free energy for future generations through commercialized fusion power plants. Cracking the code on fusion would mean no harmful emissions, no radioactive spent nuclear fuel waste, and no mining for fuel because fusion fuel is derived from seawater.

GA operates the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego on behalf of the Department of Energy (DOE) and has been the sole-source supplier of targets and target support services for the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration’s inertial confinement fusion program since 1991.

Why San Diego?

Founded in San Diego in 1955, GA has proudly called the region home for nearly 70 years. GA’s Torrey Pines campus was originally made possible by the City of San Diego, which arranged a public vote to approve the sale of what was then an empty cow pasture overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While the company now operates on five continents with more than 12,500 employees and more than 8.3 million square feet of engineering, laboratory, and manufacturing facilities worldwide, the majority of GA operations remain in San Diego County.

Over the years, GA has benefited enormously from San Diego’s quality of life, competitive innovation workforce, and partnerships with world-leading universities like UC San Diego and San Diego State University (SDSU). GA has hosted countless students for internships and postdoctoral fellowships, and generations of UC San Diego and SDSU researchers working alongside its scientists and engineers on a wide range of projects. Many of these students have gone on to become leading scientists in their field, some of whom now work full-time in San Diego at GA.

GA is also known for its support of San Diego’s small businesses, which make up 98 percent of the region’s firms. Now a cornerstone of San Diego’s innovation ecosystem, GA as a long-time federal contractor is committed to supporting San Diego’s small, women-, veteran-, and minority-owned businesses through its comprehensive DOE-recognized Small Business Program.

Please share more about GA’s collaboration and partnership with San Diego Regional EDC.

GA has been an EDC investor for more than 30 years. Vice Chairman Linden Blue has served as a director and in EDC leadership roles over the years. As GA facilities have  expanded, EDC has provided permitting support as well as helping elected leaders understand the company’s economic impact on the region. In recent months, GA has worked the team to arrange behind-the-scenes tours for Mayor Todd Gloria and local business leaders sharing our exciting fission and fusion facilities with community partners.

Looking ahead, what is on the horizon for GA?

Among other initiatives, GA is drawing from its decades of experience in fusion to develop a new concept for a Fusion Pilot Plant that will deliver clean, safe, and economically viable fusion-powered electricity. The facility will utilize GA’s proprietary Fusion Synthesis Engine to enable engineers, physicists, and operators to optimize the plant for maximum efficiency, and has developed a concept for tritium, a fusion fuel, to make the fuel cycle self-sufficient. As part of this project, GA is joining with leading institutions around the world, including France-based ITER Organization, to pursue the most rapid, economically practical path to fusion energy.

The great thing about clean energy is that anyone with a passion for it can find their calling in the space. In addition to the scientists and engineers who create clean technology, San Diego’s GA team needs the same talented business, operations, and marketing professionals that any other company needs to operate successfully. For GA, a clean energy future means access to high quality jobs for all San Diegans.

Read more about EDC’s investors in our investor spotlight blog series and join GA and 150+ investors committed to supporting the region’s inclusive economic development by becoming a member of EDC.

Interested in publishing an investor spotlight? Contact our team:

Liz Muthoni
Liz Muthoni

Coordinator, Economic Development

San Diego Mayor Gloria, EDC lead site visits to key employers

Over the last few months, EDC has collaborated with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and representatives from the City on several site visits to the region’s leading defense innovators: General Atomics, General Dynamics NASSCO, and Cubic. These listening tours give City leadership the opportunity to hear first-hand the opportunities and challenges employers face in growing in San Diego and foster collaboration between industry and government.

Mayor Todd Gloria at General Atomics

While at General Atomics’ DIII-D National Fusion Facility, the delegation learned more about the company’s advancement in fusion science, research, and technology. Hosting the largest magnetic fusion reactor in the United States, San Diego and General Atomics play an essential role in advancing fusion technology, which has the potential to revolutionize clean energy production.

The national shortage of skilled tradespeople was top of mind when the group visited General Dynamics NASSCO. The company shared its plans for building segments of large off-shore wind turbines that will then be assembled and installed up-coast near Monterey and Eureka. This new project will add around 2,000 jobs in San Diego, where there is already a shortage of these workers critical to the defense industrial base. The need to invest in the talent pipeline and give these jobs a marketable boost remains a major action item.

Mayor Todd Gloria tours Cubic

Conversely, Cubic shared its plans for 700 on-site staff to return to its Kearny Mesa office while offering a hybrid work schedule to support families. As childcare remains a pain point for many workers, the City has identified several City-owned properties that would be a good fit for childcare facilities to support Cubic’s working families.

Visits to and connection with San Diego’s employers is among Mayor Gloria’s top priorities. For these companies to maintain a strong local workforce, the region must prioritize affordable housing, childcare, and the training necessary to access opportunities at these life-changing companies.

EDC previously supported site visits alongside Mayor Gloria to Illumina, BD, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Dexcom.

What the National Defense Authorization Act means for San Diego

For the last 62 years, Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes the United States military’s spending for the fiscal year ahead.

Released December 2022, the 2023 NDAA contains important provisions for the defense community nationwide including a 4.6 percent pay raise for military servicemembers and the Department of Defense (DOD) civilian workforce. It also provides greater opportunity for the DOD to increase affordable housing options, particularly in high-cost areas, by increasing the basic allowance for housing. The NDAA includes a cumulative $20 billion cushion to address the effects of inflation on military families, construction, operations, and procurement.

Specific to the San Diego region, this agreement delivers critical dollars for military construction and readiness including:

  • $94.8 million for military construction at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
  • $151.3 million for military construction at Naval Base San Diego
    • $9 million for military construction of the Floating Dry Dock Mooring Facility at Naval Base San Diego
    • $15.5 million for Pier 6 Replacement at Naval Base San Diego
  • $70 million for water and wastewater infrastructure in San Diego County

In addition, the FY23 NDAA also allocates $32.6 billion for Navy shipbuilding, including the procurement of 11 battle force ships. Local ship repair companies BAE Systems and General Dynamics NASSCO, which collectively employ more than 4,000, stand to benefit greatly, as San Diego is homeport to 24 percent of all Navy vessels.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and challenging economic times, San Diego’s defense industry remained a pillar of our economy—accounting for a quarter of the region’s GRP. The San Diego Military Advisory Council’s (SDMAC) recent Military Economic Impact Report (MEIR) reports that in 2022, the defense sector supported approximately 360,200 jobs (23 percent of total jobs) in San Diego.

The military is woven into the fabric of San Diego’s economy, supporting thriving families and job growth for generations past and future.

learn more in our military Industry Profile

Study: AI helps catalyze 10% employment growth in San Diego Transportation cluster through the pandemic

San Diego Regional EDC study quantifies the impact of AI in region’s Transportation cluster

Today, alongside Booz Allen Hamilton, San Diego Regional EDC released the third study in a series on the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) within San Diego County’s key economic clusters. “Mobilizing the Future: AI and San Diego’s Transportation Cluster” quantifies the economic impact of the region’s Transportation cluster and explores how AI and ML technologies have helped position San Diego as a global trade hub.

While people begin to get more comfortable with the notion of autonomous-driving cars, San Diego is deploying AI and ML in Transportation even beyond consumer use. One in three Transportation and related Manufacturing companies in San Diego are either developing or adopting AI and ML technologies, thus achieving levels of precision and accuracy otherwise unattainable by humans. This is measurably higher than the average engagement rate of 25 percent across all industries.

Local startups like Airspace and Boxton are enabling the shipment of goods in the quickest, most cost effective way; large firms Lytx® and TuSimple are improving safety in transportation; established brands Cubic and SANDAG are streamlining travel and commutes for individuals; and defense contractors BAE Systems and General Dynamics NASSCO are mobilizing troops and supplies to drive mission success and safety.

Underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, the web-based study——includes video case studies on local Transportation companies, details on the $11 billion economic impact of the Transportation cluster including interactive data visuals, and demonstrates overall how the region’s rapid adoption of AI in Transportation has helped propel San Diego into the global magnet it is today.

“San Diego is home to some of the most innovative and influential Transportation technology companies in the world. The rapid development and adoption of AI in Transportation has uniquely positioned the region as a leader in solving global challenges such as climate change and supply chain disruptions brought about by the pandemic,” said Eduardo Velasquez, Research Director at San Diego Regional EDC.


  • San Diego’s Transportation cluster is big and growing. The cluster supports more than 90,000 local jobs and contributes $11 billion to the regional economy each year. Despite the pandemic, employment in the cluster has increased 10 percent during the last five years.
  • AI and ML in transportation is much more than just autonomous vehicles. Local developers are creating AI- and ML-based solutions to optimize shipping routes, automate and secure mass-transit fare collection systems, improve safety on roadways, and achieve extreme precision in the manufacturing of ships and aircraft.
  • The Transportation cluster drives global connectivity and competitiveness. These innovations bring enormous economic benefit to the region, including advanced manufacturing jobs, while propelling San Diego’s role in the global marketplace.

“It is important to remember that transportation in San Diego includes not only our personal vehicles, but also a globally connected market supported by an international border crossing, a shipping port, and an international airport,” said Joe Rohner, Director of Artificial Intelligence at Booz Allen Hamilton and leader of the firm’s West Coast AI business. “The study series continues to illustrate how the implementation of AI and ML technologies across diverse industries is perpetuating San Diego’s leadership in tackling global challenges. Booz Allen is ready to engage with our region’s leaders and industry partners to support this work.” Booz Allen employs approximately 1,400 professionals in San Diego, working on cybersecurity, analytics, engineering, and IT modernization.

Transportation is a key and rapidly growing piece of the San Diego regional economy. While employment in all other sectors contracted 2.3 percent since 2016, Transportation employment saw 10 percent growth even amid the coronavirus pandemic. This includes Transportation Manufacturing, Logistics and Freight, Passenger Transportation including Mass Transit, and Other Transportation Services. Importantly, each Transportation job creates another job in other local industries; this means 4,000 more jobs have been created elsewhere in the economy due to Transportation’s 10 percent growth over the last five years.

“At Lytx, we combine video telematics with machine vision (MV), AI, and driving data to help solve the transportation industry’s most critical problems, like distracted driving. We pioneered the use of MV + AI in fleet management solutions, and we firmly believe in this powerful technology’s ability to empower drivers, protect fleets, and create safer roadways—in San Diego and around the world,” said Rajesh Rudraradhya, Chief Technology Officer at Lytx. “The latest report in the series by EDC reinforces the importance of implementing advanced technologies such as AI and the increasing need for companies like ours to continue to innovate and improve outcomes in this space; doing so fuels regional growth while also increasing driver safety.”

With this growth, and a unique convergence of public and private entities, among other factors, San Diego’s Transportation cluster is leading in the global fight against climate change and supply chain disruption.

The study series is underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton and produced by San Diego Regional EDC. This report was sponsored by Northrop Grumman and Lytx.

Read the full study at

Read the full AI series

Study release: AI and San Diego’s Cyber Cluster

EDC study quantifies the impact of AI in region’s Cybersecurity cluster

Today, alongside Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) and Booz Allen Hamilton, EDC released the second study in a series on the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) within San Diego County’s key economic clusters. “Securing the Future: AI and San Diego’s Cyber Cluster” quantifies the economic impact of the region’s Cybersecurity cluster and explores the proliferation of AI and ML technologies being used to thwart cybercrimes, among other critical needs by the private-sector and government.

While the term “Cyber” has become household nomenclature only in the past decade or so, the industry dates back 50 years. As cyberattacks and ransomware threats on local mega-brands fill our headlines, and our digital and non-digital worlds further integrate, the importance of and need for Cybersecurity cannot be overstated.

Underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, the web-based study——includes a timeline on the history of Cybersecurity, a roster of recent Defense-Cyber contracts and subsequent job growth, details on the $3.5 billion economic impact of the Cyber cluster, and a set of recommendations for driving the use of AI and ML across the region.

“This series serves to spotlight the importance of AI-ML application within the region’s key industries—which contrary to popular belief—is helping drive productivity, job growth, innovation, and security here and around the globe. While there is work to be done in getting more San Diegans plugged into Cyber and related jobs, the industry has proven to be an engine of growth, even despite disruptions brought on by COVID-19,” said Nate Kelley, Senior Research Manager, San Diego Regional EDC.

Key findings

  • The region’s Cyber companies are significantly more engaged with AI and ML technologies than firms in other industries. Cyber firms are developing AI at a rate 2.5 to three times the regional average. Moreover, half of all Cyber companies implemented AI at least three years ago compared with 43 percent across all industries.
  • AI has generated unparalleled productivity gains. Productivity in the Cyber cluster has grown 7.5 percent since 2018, nearly triple the average for all San Diego industries, thanks to the development and adoption of AI.
  • AI is producing jobs, not eliminating them. Some 61 percent of Cyber businesses plan to hire workers—including AI specialists—in the next year. Moreover, AI has helped the industry to sidestep chronic labor shortages by automating tedious, repeatable tasks and allowing current workers to do more with their time.
  • Talent shortages abound. Despite industry employment growing by 7.4 percent since 2018, 80 to 90 percent of local Cyber companies cited difficulty sourcing qualified workers. The region’s colleges and universities are expanding their course offerings to bridge these gaps, but more must be done to better draw students to these programs.
  • Home to the largest concentration of military assets in the world, San Diego—and its Cyber firms—are positioned for growth. Nearly three in five local Cyber firms work directly or indirectly for the federal government, including the Department of Defense, and 32 percent focus exclusively on fulfilling federal contracts. Defense contracts are typically big, multiyear investments that provide stability to San Diego’s Cyber industry.

“It should come as no surprise that San Diego is at the heart of transforming the defense industrial base leveraging today’s latest technology, while working to mitigate the risks inherent to increased connectivity and data-centric decision making,” said Jennie Brooks, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton—underwriter of the EDC study series—and leader of the firm’s San Diego office, which employs over 1,200 professionals working on cybersecurity, analytics, engineering and IT modernization. “It’s clear that 5G, AI, ML, and cyber warfare will define our future battlefields, digital, and physical—and while we are encouraged by the report findings, we must all be ready to meet this new mission by fostering Cyber-ready tech talent, investing in up-skilling and reskilling programs, implementing rigorous cyber hygiene practices from the board level down, and coming together as a regional cluster to define how these new technologies will further—and safely—shape the San Diego region in the coming years.”

Cyber is an important and rapidly growing piece of the San Diego regional economy. Notably, every Cyber job generates another job in other industries in the region. The cluster accounts for 24,349 San Diego jobs across 874 firms, and has a total economic impact of $3.5 billion annually. This is about the equivalent of nine Super Bowls or 23 Comic-Cons.

“San Diego’s premier educational institutions, diverse industry base and robust federal assets seed not only the Cyber workforce but the innovation needed to protect our nation,” said Lisa Easterly, President & CEO, CCOE.

The study series is underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton and produced by San Diego Regional EDC. The report was unveiled at a virtual, community event (video recording below) sponsored by CCOE and Thermo Fisher Scientific, with representatives from Booz Allen Hamilton, ESET, Analytics Ventures, Cal State San Marcos, and Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, among others.

Read the full study at


Securing the Future AI and San Diego’s Cyber Cluster Event Recording.mp4 from San Diego Regional EDC on Vimeo.

San Diego’s Growing Digital Global Footprint

The technology that will power a post-COVID world is being invented and perfected in our backyard.  San Diego’s leading tech, defense, and life science companies are making large investments to prepare for a world that will be increasingly digital, connected, and autonomous. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science are transforming nearly every industry, giving rise to important discussions concerning jobs, ethics, and privacy.

Against the backdrop of rising protectionism and an escalating US-China conflict, the evolution of a global policy regime governing the development and deployment of strategic technology will have massive implications for both national security as well as US competitiveness.

Through the Global Competitiveness Council (GCC), San Diego leaders came together to discuss these key issues along with companies who are at the forefront of every disruptive trend reshaping the world today.

San Diego companies to keep an eye on:


Our region is known around the world for its unparalleled life sciences companies and LunaDNA is an exceptional example data science and AI in health sciences. LunaDNA, founded by Luna Public Benefit Corporation (LunaPBC) is a community-owned platform for health research. Anyone can join, share their health data, and receive ownership shares in the company. When researchers conduct studies on the data on the LunaDNA secure platform, the proceeds are passed back to the community as dividends.


ServiceNow believes in the power of technology to reduce the complexity in our jobs and make work, work better for people. The company transforms old, manual ways of working into modern digital workflows. Employees and customers get what they need, when they need it-exactly what every company needs in light of COVID-19.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI)

San Diego-headquartered General Atomics-ASI specializes in research and technology development, providing remotely operated surveillance aircraft. GA-ASI’s innovations and high-tech solutions have produced a growing line of versatile, reliable, cost-effective, and proven Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

Booz Allen Hamilton

Consulting firm, Booz-Allen, brings bold thinking and a desire to be the best in its work on consulting, analytics, digital solutions, engineering, and cyber, and with industries ranging from defense to health to energy to international development.

Brain Corp

Brain Corp provides autonomous solutions that enable OEMs and Robotics Startups to turn their manually driven products into intelligent machines. The company is now focused on developing advanced machine learning and computer vision systems for the next generation of self-driving robots.


World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.

Do you want to know more about the work of World Trade Center San Diego? Click here to receive our monthly Global Brief Newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Workshop Recap: State and Local Resources for Small Business Defense Contractors

In collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), EDC hosted a complimentary workshop for small business working directly with the defense industry. Attendees learned about state and local resources that are available to help their businesses grow. Below is additional material to learn about incentives, resources, and programs that help with commercialization, international expansion, and business growth in the San Diego and California regions.

The featured presenters included business experts from San Diego Regional EDC, East County EDC, World Trade Center San Diego, City of San Diego, and SBDC. The event is supported by NDIA, SDMAC, SBDC and East County EDC and is funded in part through the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development’s CASCADE Program.


Planck Aerosystems wins Defense Innovation Voucher Program Grand Prize

Planck Aerosystems
Planck Aerosystems
, a technology company that develops specialized drones, was awarded a $25,000 voucher as part of its participation in the inaugural Defense Innovation Voucher Program (DIV) Grand Prize Pitch. Launched in 2018 to help small and mid-sized defense companies in San Diego scale, the DIV Program worked directly with 15 local defense companies throughout 2018-2019, providing strategic boot camps and business consulting services via an initial $15,000 grant to aid in strengthening and expanding company operations.

“Our local defense economy supports one in five jobs, and small businesses represent 98 percent of total companies in our region,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “This is why EDC is committed to building programs that promote defense innovation and build resiliency in small and mid-sized businesses.”

Five DIV companies were chosen to participate in the DIV Grand Prize Pitch, based on their accomplishments, goals and overall involvement in the program. The finalists were EpiSci (EpiSys Science Inc.), Fuse Integration, Inc., GET Engineering Corporation, Planck Aerosystems and Trabus Technologies.

A live voting audience and a panel of judges selected Planck Aerosystems as the winner.

Planck is thrilled to win the Grand Prize Pitch event and be a part of DIV’s first year,” said Dave Twining, COO of Planck Aerosystems. “Thanks to San Diego Regional EDC, Booz Allen Hamilton and Propel San Diego for your guidance and support through the DIV program. We’ll be using the funds to scale our marketing efforts, which we hope will generate additional sales and investment in San Diego.”

In its inaugural year, the DIV program provided two primary benefits to chosen participants. Companies selected a pre-approved contractor to assist with services including marketing, certifications needed for government work, strategic planning, accounting compliance or lean supply chain & additive manufacturing support. Additionally, participants enrolled in a six-month-long boot camp, which provided best practices and strategies on topics ranging from contract procurement to fundraising to marketing and branding.

“We are proud to support the continued innovation that is a hallmark of the San Diego defense community,” said Jennie Brooks, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton. “At Booz Allen, we empower people to change the world, and DIV’s mission helps empower and strengthen the small and mid-size businesses that are bringing an incredible range of solutions to all branches of the military.”

Managed by San Diego Regional EDC, DIV is primarily funded through Propel San Diego, a grant award provided to the City of San Diego from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment. Additional programmatic funding for DIV is provided by Booz Allen Hamilton, the presenting sponsor.

The DIV Grand Prize Pitch event was hosted at San Diego Central Library on Thursday, May 23, with a keynote presentation by Marisa Silva, partner at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Planck Aerosystems

EDC study first to quantify impact of defense spending in SD

Last week, President Trump signed a two-year budget deal that included a hike in the debt ceiling and agreements to raise spending caps for domestic and defense programs.

For San Diego, a community where 20 percent of our GRP is tied to the military, this bill provides some stability and relief from the constant threat of continuing resolutions and sequester.

In order to better understand how fluctuations in defense spending impact our regional economy, EDC has released “Mapping San Diego’s Defense Ecosystem,” as well as a data visualization tool at This is the first of its kind regional analysis that focuses on the industrial composition of the defense supply chain and quantifies the number of firms and jobs that are impacted by defense spending. This project was executed as part of phase one of Propel San Diego, a Department of Defense funded grant initiative awarded to the City of San Diego.

Specifically, the web tool provides deal flow information at the zip code level and by industry across the county. Why this matters: the 2019 budget includes two Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) priced at $1.1 billion. These ships will likely be built by General Dynamics NASSCO here in San Diego. While those contracts are awarded over a period time, by using this new tool, users can see that this funding will have a direct impact in creating more than 1,000 jobs in the shipbuilding and repair industry.

Key study findings include:

  • San Diego is the second largest recipient of defense procurement dollars in the U.S.
  • A strong network of suppliers and access to customers are key reasons that 71 percent of firms have a favorable view of San Diego as a place to do business.
  • Defense contractor jobs have grown 6.3 percent over the last three years, and are expected to grow another 9.3 percent over the next year.
  • Since 2012, the majority of contract dollars received by the region were awarded by the Department of the Navy, each year awarding between 44 and 55 percent of total awards.
  • The majority of contract dollars were awarded to companies in the manufacturing industry, each year receiving anywhere between 47 and 68 percent of total contract dollars.

These resources provide companies, city planners, workforce agencies and economic development organizations better insights into how legislation like the bill signed into law last week can impact the San Diego community. The data has the potential to help companies prepare for new market opportunities and help communities prepare for changes in workforce demands, as has helped inform how EDC can better prioritize our limited resources in support of the region’s defense industry.

Following the successful execution of Propel San Diego’s phase one, the City of San Diego has been awarded a phase two grant for an additional $1.7 million. For more information, visit

Read the full study here.