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Defense Pulse: Insights on where military meets business

Lisa Swoboda
Lisa Swoboda is Deputy Director of the Office of Military Affairs at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

May 2015

Defense Pulse: Insights on where military and business intersect

Lisa Swoboda is Deputy Director of the Office of Military Affairs at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. 

As the home of 17 military installations and more than 60 civilian federal facilities, Maryland plays an integral role in such activities as homeland security and defense, cybersecurity, and chemical-biological R&D. A 2010 study placed the economic impact of Maryland’s military facilities at $36 billion, and an about-to-be-released study indicates a substantial increase based on 2013 data. Beyond the direct economic impact, entrepreneurs coming out of Maryland’s federal agencies and military commands start businesses, hire employees and generate tax revenue that benefit the state’s economy.

While the drawdown of two decade-long wars has tightened the Department of Defense (DoD) budget and affected defense contracts, Maryland has taken steps to mitigate the potential impact of federal belt-tightening on the communities surrounding military installations. In cooperation with the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland and other partners, the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) successfully applied for a federal grant from the DoD Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA). Broadly stated, the grant will help diversify the portfolios of businesses that are primarily dependent on defense contracts, expand the companies’ client base and remain economically viable.

Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) will conduct three statewide studies funded through the grant. The first will map Maryland’s defense supply chain, identifying businesses that are defense-driven and can benefit from diversification. The second study will conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the defense community in Maryland. An analysis of industry clusters will comprise the third study.

In addition, the Southern Maryland Technology Commercialization Pilot Program will analyze patent portfolios in the region’s Navy bases (Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head, Dahlgren, and the Naval Research Laboratory), evaluate those best suited for commercialization, and identify area businesses that can commercialize the defense technologies to broaden the companies’ commercial base.

The DoD continues to invest in programs to enhance U.S. military mobility, intelligence and surveillance, communications and interoperability, and power projection – activities that are supported through research, development and testing programs on Maryland’s military installations.

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Lisa Swoboda

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