Maryland is home to a significant military presence that includes 20 military facilities, including 11 major military installations, and a vast defense industry made up of approximately 8,500 aeronautical and defense businesses. Maryland’s defense industry supports a wide variety of sectors ranging from cybersecurity to unmanned autonomous systems to advanced manufacturing and beyond. Maryland is rated among the top 5 U.S. states for defense spending.

The Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is interested in understanding the impact of DOD funding in states like Maryland and preparing companies in those states for future fluctuations in DOD funding. The Maryland Department of Commerce (Commerce) was awarded a grant from the OEA to research the defense industry in Maryland, particularly focusing on identifying companies in the defense industry, determining their dependency on DOD funding, and working toward vital economic diversification efforts. Commerce has subcontracted the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI), a component organization of the Division of Innovation and Applied Research at Towson University, to conduct this research.

Maryland Defense NetworkRESI is delighted to be a part of this collaboration with Commerce. Dr. Daraius Irani, the Interim Vice President of the Division of Innovation and Applied Research at Towson University, noted, “Through RESI’s collaboration with Commerce, we are developing tools to enable Maryland businesses to diversify and succeed in a new normal federal budgeting environment.”

To meet the aims set forth by the OEA, RESI will complete the following:

  • Create the Maryland Defense Network, an interactive supply chain mapping tool;
  • Populate the Maryland Defense Network with survey information and publicly available data;
  • Conduct a SWOT assessment of defense communities in Maryland; and
  • Provide a cluster analysis of defense and defense-related clusters in the state.

Currently, Commerce is disseminating two surveys to companies in the defense supply chain in Maryland. The first survey requests information regarding the participant’s company. The second survey is a request for the participant’s supplier list so the survey can be forwarded to additional companies. This survey will be active until mid-June 2016. You can take part in either survey here.

Simultaneously, RESI is seeking interest from key stakeholders in the state to attend focus groups addressing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the defense industry in the state. These focus groups will be held in regions throughout the state until early-August.

If you are interested in participating in this research in any way, or if you would like to find out more information on the initiative, please contact Dr. Julie Knight at or John Stovall, the Defense Industry Outreach Coordinator at