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Supporting San Diego’s Defense Ecosystem

March 12, 2018 by Joshua Wright


San Diego has a vibrant, diversified economy. It’s a hub for life sciences, medical devices, genomics … and yes, tourism.

The defense sector, however, means perhaps more to San Diego than any industry. The military accounts for 20% of the metro’s GRP, and only Fairfax, Virginia, receives more federal defense funding.

A major defense presence means fluctuations and uncertainty in defense spending can create big shockwaves. To understand the impact of these spending changes and the flow of defense contract dollars, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation worked with Emsi to create a defense spending data visualization platform.

The defense spending tool, located at SanDiego.DoDspend.com, breaks down the defense industry supply chain (and leakages in the supply chain), identifies defense contractors, and allows users to estimate impacts to changes in defense spending.

“DoD spending touches all industries and product types. Understanding how DoD contracting impacts San Diego’s economy where defense spending accounts for 20% of our GRP is important not just to the more than 5,000 companies in this ecosystem in our county, but policy makers, educators, and planners. We hope this tool will provide valuable information for a variety of stakeholders on the opportunities and trends associated with defense spending in San Diego County,” said Jesse Gipe, senior manager of economic development for the San Diego Regional EDC.

The project was part of Propel San Diego, a grant initiative funded by the Department of Defense aimed at making San Diego County’s defense community more resilient.

In conjunction with the launch of the defense spending platform, the San Diego Regional EDC released a report on San Diego’s defense ecosystem. The analysis showed that San Diego has more than 5,600 defense contractors with 62,000 employees.

In a blog post on the data visualization tool and report, the EDC noted that these resources “provide companies, city planners, workforce agencies and economic development organizations better insights into how legislation like the [budget] bill signed into law [in early February] 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.”

On April 3 at 11 a.m. PST, Emsi and San Diego Regional EDC are hosting a webinar on the community’s defense ecosystem and defense spending platform. Register here.

Joshua Wright

Reach out at jwright@economicmodeling.com

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