Local Defense Industry Remains Strong Partly Due to 'Great Talent' from UA
Pentagon funding to Arizona dropped in 2021, pushing the state out of the top 10 for defense funding. This was part of a larger 5.6% decline in defense spending nationwide from 2020 to 2021, however, Arizona's drop was sharper than the average: from $20.2 billion in fiscal 2020 to $14.6 billion in fiscal 2021.
But Tucson's defense industry is still going strong, thanks in big part to engineering at the University of Arizona, said Tucson Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Guymon in an interview with Cronkite News.
Guymon praised the “great talent” that comes out of UA’s engineering department, which he said helps contribute to Tucson’s robust defense economy. And while he says "the Department of Defense is still very committed to Davis-Monthan," he acknowledges there are many more defense and engineering companies in Tucson besides the "big hitters."
“It’s also the 200-plus other companies in the aerospace and defense industry here in southern Arizona,” Guymon said. “From a purely economic development standpoint, Tucson and southern Arizona have the fifth-highest concentration of aerospace and defense employees in the country.”