Defense is one of Florida’s most important industries.
It is home to 20 major military installations, three combat command centers and numerous research grant recipients, all of which support 914,787 jobs and generate an annual economic impact of $95 billion.
Defense-related expenditures have increased in Florida by $10 billion and employment by 113,040 since 2017, the “2020 Florida Military & Defense Economic Impact Study,” reports.
“The results of this study demonstrate that maintaining and protecting military bases and industry in Florida is a win-win for both Florida and the United States,” Gov. Ron DeSantis, a U.S. Navy veteran, said.
Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) and the Florida Defense Support Task Force (FDSTF) released the report.
“Florida offers unmatched conditions for training air and sea forces with access to some of the highest quality test and training ranges in the country,” DeSantis added. “Florida’s military and defense industry has never been more vital to the economic success of our state.”
Florida’s 73,000 defense contractors represent the fourth-largest defense spending out of all states and the District of Columbia. Florida is home to nearly 135,000 active duty military, National Guard and reservists.
The Sunshine State state ranks fifth in the number of military personnel stationed or living there.
Direct military spending was nearly $44 billion in 2018, according to the report, accounting for a “multiplier effect,” which translates to $95 billion of overall economic impact in 2019.
By way of comparison, the state’s leading industry in 2017 contributed $85.9 billion to the state’s economy and supported 1.5 million jobs.
The defense sector has the greatest impact in Northwest Florida, with one-third of the regional economy coming from military spending.
Defense manufacturing has nearly doubled since 2015, according to the report, with the aerospace and engineering sectors centered in Brevard and Orange Counties at the top.
Florida, home to 1.6 million residents who are veterans, has the second-largest military retiree population and the third-largest veteran population in the U.S.