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.
In addition to having one of the largest veteran workforces in the nation, Tampa Bay is home to MacDill Air Force Base, 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 of community expertise, including cyber security and information technology, intelligence and analysis, training and simulation, and advanced manufacturing, with nascent opportunities in biotechnology and rehabilitative health.
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, and in 2012, Tampa Bay area companies procured more than $2.6 billion in defense contracts.
Additionally, USCENTCOM Coalition Forces representing more than 70 countries also offer a unique opportunity for local companies doing business in partner countries, while assisting companies from targeted countries as they seek to expand into the U.S.
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.
Each May, SORDAC and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) present the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), a three-day event that identifies the top priorities and business opportunities available through USSOCOM acquisition programs. Tampa Bay also hosts the annual Florida Defense & Technology Showcase, providing business-to-business matchmaking opportunities for prime contractors and suppliers.
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 and is home to nearly one quarter of Florida’s 1.7 million veterans. MacDill AFB is also 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.
Defense-focused education programs ensure the students of today are trained for the jobs of tomorrow. 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. Through a partnership with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, USF offers graduate and undergraduate certificates in National and Competitive Intelligence, preparing students for careers in intelligence analysis. Saint Leo University offers a master’s degree in cybersecurity, utilizing a state-of-the-art laboratory to explore the professional applications of digital information protection. Hillsborough Community College offers additional certificate programs in Homeland Security and Geomatics.
In Tampa and Hillsborough County, we stand ready with the tools and resources you need to succeed. Our pro-business, cost-competitive operating environment offers a favorable corporate tax structure, low labor costs, zero personal income tax, and defense-related financial incentives for qualifying companies. Combined with a high quality of life and the lowest cost of living among southeast metro areas, it becomes clear we’re the right choice.