Military & Defense
Coast Guard Change of Command ceremony in Port Angeles, WA
The Military and Defense sector is Washington’s second largest direct public employer. This key industry cuts across many sectors in Washington, helps create the backbone for a strong economy through our diverse defense missions and military installations, our pioneering companies, and our military friendly communities.
Washington is home to nearly 95,079 active duty, reserve, guard and civilian personnel, home to over 598,460 veterans including 73,538 retirees and nearly 136,000 military families. Washington’s military and defense community supported over $15 billion dollars in annual procurement supported by over 1,900 businesses across the state, which represented nearly four percent of the state’s GDP. Some of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) largest contractors operate in Washington including Boeing, Microsoft and Vigor Industries.
Washington’s military and defense infrastructure assets include:
- The Army’s number one power projection platform in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the largest Joint Base west of the Rocky Mountains
- The Navy’s third largest fleet concentration at Naval Base Kitsap
- The sole naval aviation asset in the Pacific Northwest at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
- A Coast Guard district that supports homeland security for four states and patrols over 460,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean
- Naval Station Everett, which is home to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz and is the Navy’s most modern facility
- One of ten U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- The Applied Physics Lab at UW, one of five Navy-managed University Research Centers in the U.S.
- The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, one of our state’s largest industrial installations
- Fairchild Air Force Base, part of Air Mobility Command that provides strategic cargo and passenger delivery, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation, as well as support for humanitarian missions around the world
- Washington State Military Department utilizing state and federal resources to perform homeland defense, homeland security, and emergency mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities.
There is potential to further leverage our strong military presence and help more Washington businesses procure business with DOD. While our state is the sixth most military populous in the nation, we ranked 23rd in 2012 for securing defense contracts. This includes a wide range of opportunities including working to advance unmanned systems or space exploration in the aerospace sector or driving cybersecurity efforts in the ICT sector.
The governor and federal Congressional delegation has worked together to convene the Washington Military Alliance (WMA). The WMA is a coalition of military and defense related stakeholder organizations, serving as an umbrella organization for the three main components of the sector representing industry, community support partnerships, and infrastructure support. This group provides policy guidance to the Governor, other state agencies, the Legislature, and others in support of the military and defense sector in Washington.
Equally important is Governor Inslee’s commitment to transitioning veterans, a source of strength for building on our state’s outstanding workforce. In honor of their service and commitment, the governor is focused on supporting a seamless transition from military to civilian life, as is evidenced in his first Executive Order and the creation of the Washington State Military Transition Council.
Gov. Inslee's Military Sector Lead