The purpose of Propel San Diego is to increase the strength and resilience of defense firms operating in San Diego County.Through the collaboration of six key partner organizations, custom programs are being designed to assist businesses who sell products and services to DoD in order to develop a resilient defense supply chain that can stabilize despite changing budget, regional economic, and DoD readiness priorities. Support programs include access to services and expertise in marketing, ITAR compliance, export assistance, lean supply chain analysis, and business development support with government customers, and programs designed to increase commercial business.


The vision of Propel San Diego is a more diversified economy encouraging investors and entrepreneurial opportunities. The possibility of disruptive technologies occurs leading to an emphasis on additional training programs, improved transportation networks and telecommuting. The workforce becomes more international making San Diego’s border location even more important. The community profile will continue to have a strong military presence with a deep appreciation for an international workforce.

Why San Diego?

Home to the largest concentration of military assets in the world, San Diego’s regional economy is heavily dependent on defense industry dollars. According to the 2017 San Diego Military Economic Impact Study, collectively, direct, regional defense spending on facilities, payrolls, benefits, acquisition and procurement contracts and related expenses is around $25 billion for the fiscal year 2017. Including multiplier effects, this amounts to around $50 billion or 22 percent of the county’s Gross Regional Product (GRP).  More than one out of every five jobs in the region ties directly to defense spending.

Significant defense-related industries and businesses represented in the region include: unmanned vehicles (global leader); robotics/autonomous systems; cyber security; Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C4ISR); training systems; analysis, research, and development; and advanced manufacturing. The largest allocation of federal procurement funds is directed to the aerospace, navigation/sensors, maritime technologies, and information and communications technology (network hardware, satellite systems, etc.) sectors.

While San Diego County is positioned to be a key player in both the Western Pacific activities of the military, in international trade with Mexico and with other countries, and in a high technology convergence across industry clusters, this reliance on defense spending creates vulnerabilities in the defense supply chain and the regional economy. Subsequent programs that will be created through this grant will help our region retain talent and assist in creating stability for defense companies in an increasingly uncertain defense budget world.  Many of San Diego’s greatest defense companies, such as Cubic and Viasat have grown stronger by diversifying their business lines outside of defense.