The Patuxent Partnership‘s 2019 Annual Meeting reaffirmed the importance of military and federal spending in Maryland and the substantial role Naval Air Station Patuxent River has in this state economy.
Lisa Swoboda, Senior Director of the Office of Military & Federal Affairs in the Maryland Department of Commerce, said the state hosts 20 military installations, 12 of which are considered major installations; 60 civilian federal agencies; and 74 federal labs, twice as many as any other state in the nation.
“We are deeply steeped in R and D,” Ms. Swoboda said about research and development endeavors in the state.
This concentration of installations, agencies, and labs makes defense the number one industry in Maryland, Ms. Swoboda said, and the direct recipient of $57.5 billion in federal funds entering the state’s economy. “This is not spin-off money,” she said, referring to the additional economic growth communities receive from the service, retail, and corollary businesses launched and buoyed by the defense spending.
The economic impact of NAS Pax River on Maryland continues to grow. In FY08 the impact was $6.6 billion on Maryland’s economy, representing 41,185 jobs and $2.4 billion in wages, according to the Maryland Department of Commerce data. The total impact increased in FY12 to $7.5 billion, although with 4,000 fewer jobs and the same $2.4 billion in wages. However, FY16 shows another substantial leap to an $8.7 billion impact and a growth in jobs to 61,132 with $3.6 billion in wages.
Only California, Virginia, and Texas receive a larger share of federal spending than Maryland. And within Maryland, St. Mary’s County is third in the amount of Department of Defense contracts awarded, behind only Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties.
To additionally capitalize and expand upon this statewide success, the Office of Military & Federal Affairs was created in 1999 and helps the Maryland Department of Commerce oversee a wide array of programs directed to support technology development and defense contracting.
The Office of Military & Federal Affairs coordinates programs that begin with the very first steps necessary to build and maintain a statewide economy on cutting edge technologies: STEM education.
The office’s Federal Business Relations Director Helga Weshke introduced Maryland STEM Connect, an interactive database of STEM activities offered by federal agencies, from NASA to Fort Meade. Since its inception 50 prime contractors and additional state and local STEM opportunities have been included, said Ms. Weshke. The Maryland Department of Commerce collaborates with the Maryland Department of Education in its efforts to demonstrate and promote the many diverse STEM activities to educators, students, and parents.
The also interactive Maryland Defense Network is another innovative initiative rolled out by the Maryland Department of Commerce to connect “government, industry, and opportunity” as it says on the network’s introductory portal. The tool allows contractors to learn from one another, partner, and decipher government needs in a timely enough manner to successfully pursue them. The online network tracks defense reliance and supply chain networks of defense contractors.
The Patuxent Partnership is a nonprofit member organization that fosters collaboration between government, industry, and academia to advance education through STEM-based initiatives; to advance technology through speaker programs, forums, and networking; to advance science and technology transfer through the exchange of ideas, information, and data related to technologies; and to increase workforce development through an array of initiatives.
To learn more about The Patuxent Partnership and its programs, visit its Leader member page.