San Diego’s Defense Industry

San Diego’s defense cluster is critical for the region’s innovation and military economies, and ultimately, to 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. 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.

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. For decades, San Diego has benefitted from the advantages for product development, job growth, and the commercialization of defense technology. Like many things in San Diego; however, our defense industry is transforming and modernizing. This has enabled the region to attract an array of pilot programs that seek increase functionality and security of our military bases, but also provides an opportunity for commercial leaders in the innovation economy to engage with the defense industry in non-traditional ways.

EDC Study: Mapping San Diego’s Defense Ecosystem

Key Companies

  • Kratos
  • Leidos
  • Lockheed Martin
  • L3 Technologies
  • Raytheon
  • Shield AI
  • Teledyne
  • LRAD Corporation




Key Resources

San Diego Military Advisory Counsel is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization with a mission to support and promote the mutual business and other interests of the military, their quality of life, and the defense community in the San Diego area. The organization releases an annual Military Economic Impact Study; read it here.

National Defense Industrial Association is a 501(c)3 corporate and individual membership association that engages thoughtful and innovative leaders to promote the best policies, practices, products and technology to build a more responsive and collaborative community in support of defense and national security.

By the Numbers

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Jordan Latchford
Jordan Latchford

Manager, Research