Seven of the world’s top-10 defense-related firms have a major presence in the Virginia Beach MSA, supporting the largest active-duty military population in the country.

The Virginia Beach MSA is home to the largest active-duty military population in the U.S., as well as 9 major military installations representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.  In addition, the only permanent NATO Headquarters outside of Europe is located in the MSA, as are the world’s largest naval base, the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base, headquarters for the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, the major operating base for U.S. expeditionary forces, the U.S. Navy’s headquarters for computer network command & control, and major commands for both the Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Private industry support for the area’s defense operations plays a major role in the regional economy, creating thousands of jobs and leading significant innovations in new technologies for both military and private sector applications. Seven of the world’s top-10 defense-related firms have a major presence in the Virginia Beach MSA, as well as two major federal R&D facilities (NASA Langley Research Center and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility) responsible for developing new technologies in the fields of materials, sensors, aviation safety, and nuclear science.

For more information on the bases and armed forces in the area, visit the military page.

Export Opportunities for Virginia's Defense Industry

As the U.S. Federal Government cuts back on defense spending, there are significant opportunities for Virginia’s defense companies to grow sales abroad. VEDP-International Trade has released a defense export guide to assist Virginia’s defense companies in taking advantage of these opportunities to grow sales through exports. This guide introduces new exporters to the processes, considerations, and strategies for making defense sales abroad. Learn more about these export opportunities.​

Major Defense Companies in Virginia Beach

Engility Corporation800
Allied Technology Group Inc.515
Lockheed Martin Corporation510
J.K. Hill & Associates Inc.350
ADS Tactical Inc.420
Northrop Grumman200

Key Positions - Average Annual Salaries

PositionVirginia Beach MSA​United States
General and operations managers$120,790$119,460
Mechanical engineers$47,590$88,190
Computer hardware engineers$117,480$114,970
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,  MSAUSA May 2015 Data

Business Spotlight

J.K. Hill & Associates, formed in 1992, is headquartered in Virginia Beach and has 15 national customer support facilities throughout the United States.  Primarily serving the federal government and large government contractors, J.K. Hill & Associates provides a range of services, including storage & warehouse operations, transportation planning, ship surveys, aircraft maintenance, and aircraft refueling.  The veteran-owned company is also a three-time recipient of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s “Fantastic 50” businesses recognition.  For more information, click here​.  ​​

 Defense Industry Quick Facts

  • Active-duty military in Hampton Roads: 82,000 (Source: Hampton Roads Statistical Digest)
  • Number of veterans in Hampton Roads: 213,926 (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Veterans status for the popul​ation 18 years and over: 4.6 percent (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • An average of 12,000 active-duty military personnel annually exit the military in Hampton Roads
  • Department of Defense (DoD) Federal Civilians: 43,600 (Source: HRPDC)
  • 36 percent of Hampton Roads employment was either directly employed by or supported through DoD (Source: HRPDC)​