The numbers speak volumes: The total direct economic impact in the Fiscal Year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021) was nearly $26 billion. Of this, nearly $21 billion was from military, civilian and retiree payroll and more than $5 billion was from the procurement of goods and services as well as travel expenditures. (Source Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, 2023)

The Virginia Beach MSA is home to the largest active-duty military population in the U.S.: 96,835 according to the recent Navy Statistical Economic Impact Report. Nine major military installations representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces are located in our region. 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.

Virginia Beach is 2021 8th Best City for Veterans, WalletHub

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.

Major Defense Companies in Virginia Beach



Lockheed Martin Corporation510
ADS Tactical Inc.420
​J.K. Hill & Associates Inc.​350​
​Valkyrie Enterprises, LLC​​293
Northrop Grumman200
Allied Technology Group Inc.200

Source: Virginia Beach Economic Development, 2021

Key Positions - Average Annual Salaries

General and Operations Managers15,740$113,780$122,860
Mechanical Engineers


Computer Hardware Engineers310$115,150$140,830

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSA, USA May 2022 (Latest Data)​ *MSA Number of Employed

Military Installations​ in the Virginia Beach MSA​​

The Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads area is home to nine major military installations representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the world's largest naval base and the home of the Atlantic Fleet:


​First commissioned in 1943, Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach is the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base, home to 19 F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet squadrons. The base, including its Dam Neck Annex and NALF Fentress, employs 16,450 (13,185 active-duty personnel and 3,265 civilians). Oceana and Dam Neck are vital for training naval members in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.


Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story is the country’s premier installation for housing and training the nation’s Expeditionary Forces. Comprising the former Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek and the Army’s Fort Story, the combined base is the major East Coast operation for Overseas Contingency Operations and provides support and services to 18 home-ported ships and 155 shore-based resident commands. The base encompasses nearly 4,000 acres of land, with more than 7.5 miles of beachfront training area and 61 piers. JEB Little Creek-Fort Story employs 15,472 (13,325 active-duty personnel and 2,147 civilians) making it one of the largest military bases on the East Coast as well as one of Virginia’s largest employers.​

​The Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance

The Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA) is an initiative of the Hampton Roads Mayors and Chairs Caucus. Its mission is to attract, retain and grow military and federal facilities across the region for the common good and welfare of the residents of the region.

NASA Wallops Flight Facility​

Wallops Flight Facility, located nearby on Virginia's Eastern Shore, was established in 1945 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics as a center for aeronautic research. Today, Wallops is NASA's principal facility for the management and implementation of suborbital research programs. In addition, this asset is a leader among test sites in the development of unmanned aerial systems.

Global Defense Program (GDP)

The Global Defense Program (GDP) helps Virginia’s defense companies diversify into new international markets. Eligible defense-related companies receive assistance with strategy, export compliance, matchmaking, translation, and more. Defense-related companies also receive market research services such as identifying potential distributors and due diligence reports.

Fast Facts (updated 2022)

  • Active-duty military in Hampton Roads: 91,380 (Source: 2020 Navy Statistical Economic Impact Report)
  • Number of veterans in Hampton Roads: 196,519 (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Veterans status for the population 18 years and over: 15.2 percent (Source: 2019 Latest Military Report)
  • An average of 14,000 active-duty military personnel annually exit the military in Hampton Roads.
  • Department of Defense (DoD) federal civilians: 52,205 (Source: Navy Region Economic Impact Report)
  • 11 percent of Hampton Roads employment was either directly employed by or supported through DoD (Source: HRPDC)​

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