U.S. Navy’s Massive SPAWAR Facility


The large airplane hangars that stretch along Interstate 5 near Old Town are a familiar sight for San Diego’s commuters. They are home to the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), an economic powerhouse for the region according to an economic impact study released, April 17, 2014.

Commissioned and funded by the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) to quantify the role SPAWAR plays in San Diego’s economy, the study was authored by Dr. Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Fermanian Business and Economic Institute.

“As we took this comprehensive look at SPAWAR, I continued to be impressed by the value the organization brings to San Diego – in both directly measurable impacts and in indirect ways,” said Dr. Reaser.

According to the study, SPAWAR will pump more than $1.77 billion into the local economy in fiscal year 2014 and combining all of its direct and indirect effects on the economy, will be responsible for nearly 19,000 jobs in the county. Many different types of jobs are created, including those in engineering, scientific research, electronics equipment, personnel agencies, building services, food services and medical offices. These jobs will help generate $1.6 billion in total personal income in the region.

With nearly half of its 10,000 employees located in San Diego, if SPAWAR operations were a private company, it would rank as the 12th largest company in the county for jobs.

While the study focused primarily on SPAWAR’s contribution to the region in terms of the number of jobs and dollars it injects into the local economy, it also highlights the important synergy that has developed between SPAWAR and San Diego. The regional benefits for SPAWAR include the cyber cluster of over 100 cyber companies; its unique geography close to the fleet; the vibrant professional networks; and the vast ecosystem of contractors and research firms.

“The Navy is woven into the fabric of the San Diego community, and as a Navy command, SPAWAR is also linked very closely,” said SPAWAR Commander, Rear. Adm. Patrick Brady. “But our command is different than most. We don’t fly or build airplanes, ships or submarines, or construct new shore facilities for our Sailors to work and train in. Our focus is to connect all those warfighting elements of the Navy.”

According to the study, SPAWAR has been an important driver of innovation in San Diego. In the past 20 years, the command’s local research laboratory, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific, has issued 1,325 documented concepts or disclosures and filed for 900 patents for which a total of 800 have been granted.

“SPAWAR is the Navy’s think-tank. It’s an important resource for information and to getting critical cyber capabilities and technologies out to the fleet,” said Reaser. “It’s one of San Diego’s most important assets. One that we cannot take for granted.”

The report comes on the heels of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation’s industry assessment of cyber security in San Diego released in March, which pointed to SPAWAR as a key player in establishing San Diego as a recognized cyber technology center of excellence. SPAWAR directly employs nearly half of all the cyber security jobs in the area and is a contributing factor for many cyber companies locating in San Diego.

(Source: Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Public Affairs)

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