A survey jointly issued by the Maryland Department of Commerce (DoC) and the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University is identifying companies receiving U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) funding. The results will be analyzed to determine the impact of that funding on the state’s defense industry.

The survey, which is being conducted by RESI, is financed through a grant from the DoD Office of Economic Adjustment. More than 8,000 businesses were contacted for information in May, and the survey is open through June 15.

“The idea is to get a clearer picture of the defense ecosystem, or the supply chain in the state,” said John Stovall, DoC coordinator of defense industry outreach.

Maryland ranks among the top five states in the U.S. for defense spending, according to the DoC. Within Maryland, military installations represent 17% of the state’s gross domestic product and support more than 410,200 jobs. Maryland’s 8,580 aerospace and defense businesses annually generate $32.82 billion in economic activity and secure $8.42 billion in federal contracts.

Get Involved

RESI researchers are not only directly contacting companies via email, they’re also encouraging companies to visit

http://marylanddefensenetwork.org/survey to fill out the survey online. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Survey respondents not only respond to questions, they also have an opportunity to anonymously upload their supplier lists. Surveyors emphasized that the name of companies providing supplier or contractor lists will not be requested or sought out through electronic means.

The survey will provide DoC with a clearer picture of how Maryland businesses could be affected by federal defense budget uncertainties. Data collected from the survey and from defense spending sources will map the state’s defense supply chain, tracking the flow of contract dollars from the DoD to prime and subcontractors. Companies surveyed will be part of the Maryland Defense Network (MDN), a database of defense industry stakeholders comprising Maryland companies, economic development professionals and policymakers.

Designed to encourage collaboration among businesses, the network will allow users to track and analyze the data using a geographic interface, customizable charting and other interactive components. Survey respondents will also receive access to videos on government contracting and competitive intelligence tactics, as well as entry into drawings on the network’s Twitter feed and for complimentary registration to an economic development summit.

For the current survey, participating companies may be involved in homeland security and defense, chemical-biological research, cybersecurity, aerospace or other federal activities. The first 150 respondents were invited to an industry networking breakfast scheduled for September. “We would appreciate any help broadcasting this story,” said Daraius Irani, chief economist at RESI.

Map for the Future

Ultimately, the MDN will serve as a supply chain map when survey results are combined with publicly available data on DoD contractors, according to Julie Knight, RESI senior research manager. “The Maryland Defense Network will be available to the business community, and we envision that it will be a valuable resource for them when seeking suppliers and potential collaborators,” she said.

The survey will not only offer an immediate snapshot of the defense sector, but will also lead to a deeper understanding as more companies are reached, said Lisa Swoboda, deputy director of the DoC Office of Military and Federal Affairs.

“Moving beyond the first-tier contractors to identify and focus on the second- and third-tier businesses within the defense supply chain will allow Maryland and local government partners to better understand where defense dependencies reside, and how best to stabilize suppliers through diversification assistance,” she said.

Military Presence

Maryland is home to a significant military presence that includes 20 military facilities, including 11 major military installations, and about 8,500 aeronautical and defense businesses, according to the DoC. Maryland’s defense industry supports a wide variety of sectors ranging from cybersecurity to unmanned autonomous systems to advanced manufacturing.

According to the DoC, the top 10 aerospace and defense employers are Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground, JointBase Andrews Naval Air Facility, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Northrop Grumman Corp., Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, Fort Detrick and Leidos.

In addition, Maryland has the highest concentration of computer information and research scientists in the nation, and is second only to California in the number of these scientists. The state ranks fourth in the nation in the concentration of aerospace engineers in the workforce, with more than twice the average for the nation.

A previous economic impact study by RESI showed the economic impact of military bases increased from $36 billion in 2008 to more than $57 billion in 2012.

As the federal budget contracts, Maryland state officials say they are taking steps to help defense-dependent businesses broaden their markets, expand their client base and remain economically viable. Their goal is to help ensure the economies of communities surrounding military installations remain stable.