The Region's Military Industry is Growing Businesses and Tech R&D
COVID-19 continues to impact every aspect of our daily lives but optimism and history tell us that opportunity will soon follow. While the spread of the virus and the required and recommended steps to curtail the spread throughout Maryland have significantly evolved since EAGB issued the special edition of our monthly newsletter, Region on Point, on March 17, we continuously keep our Greater Baltimore Business & Economic COVID-19 Resources Guide up-to-date to provide easy access to resources focused on assisting businesses and their employees. And, as we continue to spotlight the Region's positive stories across our social media platforms, we zero in on the Region’s strategic industry sectors - many of which have been the focus of previous newsletters and Industry Profiles. We add to this industry focus today: the Military – an industry with far reaching economic impact and business opportunities.
Maryland is home to several major military installations, all of which employ thousands of military and civilian personnel working to ensure that the country is protected from direct military attack and, increasingly, cyber and biochemical warfare. The Greater Baltimore region includes two installations that are critical to this mission – Fort George G. Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Fort George G. Meade (Fort Meade) is Maryland's largest employer and the second-largest workforce of any Army installation in the United States. Fort Meade is the nation’s center for information, intelligence, and cyber operations. Its primary mission is to provide a wide range of services to 95 partner organizations from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. On post, there are:
- Approximately 120 federal agencies including the National Security Agency, the U.S. Cyber Command, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Media Activity, the Defense Information School, the Defense Courier Service, the United States Army Field Band, and the U.S. Army Recruiting Command,
- Approximately 57,000 civilian and military employees who work in these agencies, and
- A total workforce of federal and non-DoD affiliated contractors estimated to be 100,000.
Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) is the Defense Department's Center for Excellence for land combat systems, vehicles, soldier systems, and chemical and biological defense. APG is recognized as one of the world's most important research and development, testing and evaluation facilities for military weapons and equipment, and supports the most highly qualified military and civilian scientists, research engineers, technicians and administrators. Within the gates at APG, there are:
- Approximately 90 tenant organizations,
- Approximately 21,000 military, civilian and contractor employees, and
- An additional 60 defense contractor tenants located at St. John Properties’ G.A.T.E complex, with approximately 2,000 private and government employees.
Outside the gates, there are approximately 45 Harford County defense contractors with active APG contracts.
From the earliest concepts of a requirement, through research, and onto development and proofing, APG no longer devotes its attention exclusively to ordinance items, but also tests and proofs all Army materials with which our soldiers defend this nation and the free world. This includes cybersecurity through the C51SR Center, one of eight science and technology centers, whose vision is to be the DOD leader in systems engineering and technology development through developing and integrating technologies. They'll do this by linking a diverse array of technology producers including industry, academia, the foreign sector, and other government agencies.
APG is also home to the U.S. Army Futures Command Network- Cross Functional Team. This two-star command is focused on working with industry to develop innovative solutions for the Army’s network enterprise.
It is clear that Fort Meade and APG are economic engines for the Region and the state and the importance of their work to the security of the entire nation cannot be overstated. Of growing significance is how the work “inside the gates” has become a catalyst for business growth and technology research and development “outside the gates;” an economic growth strategy that is being facilitated by several State programs. They include:
- The Maryland Department of Commerce established the Maryland Defense Diversification Assistance Program (MDDA) in order to provide technical assistance to businesses overly reliant on defense contracts to diversify and strengthen other business streams. The Program is funded by the US DOD and, now completed, worked in partnership with TEDCO and the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to assist 36 companies who were able to increase their sales by a combined $69M upon completion of the program. MDDA FAQs are available here.
- The State also received a DOD Grant of $500,000 to provide technical assistance to defense contractors so that they may institute procedures which protect their information and organization from cyber threats and allows them to continue to provide services to the federal government. The Maryland Defense Cyber Assistance Program (DCAP) provides funding and technical assistance to compy with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-171 Standards for cybersecurity. To date, Phase 1 of the program - managed through MEP - has assisted 46 companies achieving a combined economic impact of over $142M in increased sales, retained 2,318 jobs and added 101 jobs. Additional information about DCAP can be found at www.mdmep.org
Recognizing that the work at Fort Meade, APG and other state military installations could be a significant catalyst for private sector business growth, the Maryland Department of Commerce established the Maryland Defense Technology Commercialization Center (DefTech) in 2018 in Harford County to facilitate the transfer of technology developed at APG Army labs - including the Army Research Lab (ARL) - located "inside the gate" to private and other public sector entities for R&D partnerships and/or commercialization. The primary goals of DefTech, as the program is known, is to increase the number of Maryland companies participating with Army labs and help them to ultimately secure licenses and patents for the commercialization of the research. DefTech strives to accomplish this goal by first educating private sector companies in what commercialization requires in the way of management skills and scientific expertise, then searching for opportunities to create partnerships and/or collaborations for continuing R&D and eventual commercialization. The program has now expanded to include Fort Meade and Fort Detrick (Frederick County, MD), and has an additional presence in the Region at the Howard County Innovation Center.
Last but not least, the Maryland Department of Commerce has established the Maryland Military Installation Council to facilitate State-wide collaboration between the state’s military installations, share best practices and inform installation leadership of higher Army policy changes or initiatives that could impact installation personnel or operations.
Access the full EAGB Region On Point newsletter here.