For more information about the local defense and security industry, please contact:

Mitchel Allen
Senior Vice President,
Economic Development



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. 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.

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.

CAE USA, the largest defense contractor in Tampa Bay, is building a new state-of-the-art training and simulation facility located at Tampa International Airport. The nearly 300,000-square-foot facility will accommodate an additional 100 employees to CAE USA’s existing local workforce of 500 and include such roles as computer and software engineering, program management, training instructors, and corporate functions.

Fast Facts:

  • More than 88,000 veterans live in Hillsborough County and 78% of them are in the labor force (2021 ACS 1-Year Estimates)
  • Nine of the top 10 U.S. defense contractors have a presence in Tampa Bay.
  • Hillsborough County’s employment in defense and security is projected to grow 17.5% by 2026, more than the Tampa MSA and the nation. (Source:  Chmura JobsEQ 2021)
  • Due to the employment growth in the defense and security industry, new business establishments were created in Hillsborough County spurring a growth of 35% since 2017. (Source:  Chmura JobsEQ Q3 2022)
  • Tampa Bay has one of the largest presence of defense contractors. (WWC Global and Tampa Bay Business Journal 2021)
  • The seven-county region surrounding Tampa Bay is home to the United States Coast Guard Air Station.
  • With an employment over 87,300 in Hillsborough County the economic impact from MacDill AFB generated nearly $11.2 million. (2022 Florida Military & Defense Economic Impact Summary)
  • Statewide the economic impact was $96.6 billion in 2022. (2022 Florida Military & Defense Economic Impact Summary)
  • Tampa ranked #5 in best city for veterans to live – WalletHub, 2022
  • 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.
  • Leading defense and security companies: Aero Simulation, CAE USA, FLYMOTION, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Lukos

“We have been in the Tampa Bay area for the last 40 years… and are excited to grow and expand to a new state-of-the-art facility at the Tampa airport.  This will provide our employees a modern facility that will help us attract and retain the world-class workforce we need to develop advanced training solutions that enhance the mission readiness of the men and women in our armed forces.”

– Ray Duquette, President and General Manager, CAE USA

Tampa ranks #5 best city for Veterans to live in

Tampa Bay Community Overview

Read more about the Tampa Bay community and why it’s a good fit for defense companies in this overview.  

Defense IT firm plans local expansion

Specialized IT firm for the defense sector, Atlantic Digital, announced plans to expand locally with 120 new jobs over three years.

Ridgeline International expands to Tampa

Cybersecurity firm specializing in digital signature management for business and government clients plans to create 30 jobs.