Tampa Bay has emerged as a driving force behind the growing convergence of defense and technology, and as a leader in the defense and security industries. Tampa Bay has one of the largest veteran workforces in the country, with roughly 92,000 former service men and women in the metro area’s active labor pool.
In addition to having one of the largest veteran workforces in the nation, Tampa Bay is home to MacDill Air Force Base, the largest employer in Hillsborough County, adding more than 15,000 highly trained military and civilian personnel to the talent pipeline, with the skills and security clearances desired by industry employers.
MacDill AFB is the only military installation that hosts two, four-star Combatant Commands, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) and U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Thirty-eight additional mission partners operating from MacDill AFB, as well as specialized security and intelligence firms, help to make Tampa and Hillsborough County a top market for defense contractors.
Locally, a $14 billion military industry has developed around areas such as cybersecurity and information technology, intelligence and analysis, training and simulation, and advanced manufacturing, with nascent opportunities in biotechnology and rehabilitative health. The University of South Florida created the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, a comprehensive center to provide interdisciplinary training, research, and resources for private sector businesses and government agencies. USF offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in cybersecurity and other local area colleges offer certificate programs in homeland security and national intelligence.
Consistently ranked among the top communities for defense, Tampa Bay offers unparalleled access to top military assets, a highly skilled talent pipeline, a strong network of existing companies, and a military-friendly business community dedicated to your success. Nine of the top 10 U.S. defense contractors have a presence in Tampa Bay.
The Special Operations Research, Development and Acquisition Center (SORDAC), headquartered here, is responsible for deploying a $2.4 billion procurement budget to support Special Operations Forces, giving local companies valuable proximity to a significant military funding source.