Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Defense Spending

September 25, 2015

 

As one of the foundations of San Diego’s economy, the military plays an integral role in San Diego’s economic vitality. Between the release of San Diego Military Advisory Council’s (SDMAC) 7th annual Military Economic Impact Report, the Governors Military Council (GMC) quarterly board meeting and the upcoming  airshow at MCAS Miramar, the military has been on the radar for many San Diegans this month.  

At the release of the SDMAC economic impact study this past Wednesday, updated data confirmed just how important the military is to San Diego’s economy:

·         The military sector is responsible for about 328,000 -  22 percent - of the region’s total jobs in 2015 after accounting for all of the ripple effects of defense spending – an increase from last year’s 317,000 jobs. 

·         An estimated total of $24.8 billion in direct spending related to defense was sent to San Diego County during fiscal year 2015, an amount equal to about $7,700 for each of the county’s residents.

·         In fiscal year 2015, the 49 U.S. Navy ships home-ported in San Diego will see direct spending of about $2.6 billion, which will equate to a total economic impact of $5.7 billion in GRP.

·         The two aircraft carriers based here will bring a combined $1.5 billion to the economy based on updated inputs, multipliers, and models.  San Diego’s home-ported ship count is projected to climb to a total of 84 by calendar year 2023.

Although these are impressive numbers in themselves, they do not capture the depth of the defense sector. Case in point: in the early ‘70s, two engineers – Irwin Jacobs and Andrew Viterbi -- received a SPAWAR* contract to  advance communications technologies (CMDA). Years later, Jacobs would go on to form Qualcomm, San Diego’s largest private-sector employer, and the home of the modern day cell phone.  That is just one example - San Diego’s military drives billions of dollars of research to the region, attracts talent from around the country, and has proven to be instrumental in inspiring major technological innovations impacting both the defense and commercial markets.

 In addition to the numerous elected officials on hand for the study release, the Governor’s Military Council (GMC) simultaneously held its quarterly board meeting in San Diego. Started as an advisory council to protect California’s assets, the GMC became a standing committee with the passage of AB 442, which was signed into law on September 21. While in town, the GMC toured several military staples, including NASSCO, SPAWAR and Naval Base Point Loma. Building on the announcement and the momentum of the GMC’s statewide strategy release, EDC is working in close partnership with SDMAC to ensure San Diego’s key military interests are represented in the GMC's actions. We are pleased to confirm that RADM (ret.) Ken Slaght, a former commander of SPAWAR and the co-chair of the Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE), will join the GMC as its newest member.    
               
 Our military drives innovation, attracts a diverse set of talent and remains the single most critical industry in terms of impact on our GRP.  The looming threat of sequestration coupled with leadership uncertainties in D.C. confirm that we need to stay diligent and focused as a region to provide the concerted effort required to adequately support our key military installations and our defense industrial base. Our economy depends on it.

*In June 2019, SPAWAR changed its name to Naval Information Warfare Systems Command