Private contractors based in Arlington, Va, earned more than $818 million or 29.5 percent of all Department of Homeland Security contracts during 2004, capturing a greater amount of homeland security dollars than any other single jurisdiction in the United States. This was the finding of a study conducted by Heike Mayer, assistant professor in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, in partnership with Arlington Economic Development (AED).

The study also identified Arlington as the center for high-tech product procurement in homeland security, capturing almost 17 percent of the total U.S. high-tech procurement in homeland security. Within the Washington, D.C. area, Arlington’s share accounted for almost 36 percent of the regional total and was almost twice as high as the much larger Fairfax County’s share within the region.

The homeland security industry in Arlington County specializes in aerospace, audio and visual equipment, communications equipment, computer systems design, industrial machinery, technical and managerial consulting services, navigational and measurement instruments and R&D services. These areas correlate to the findings of an earlier study on Emerging Technology Sectors, which presented evidence for employment concentrations in these same sectors.

“The implications of these findings are enormous,” said AED Director Terry Holzheimer. “Especially in light of potential BRAC {Base Realignment and Closure} recommendations, the attraction Arlington holds for high-tech firms looking to capture federal contracting dollars – and the benefits they’ll find by locating in Arlington – is massive. Arlington is truly the center of the homeland security universe.”

According to Mayer, the study showed that the majority of the top contractors were new entrants, meaning they had not performed work in Arlington before 2001. Top Arlington-based contractors typically engaged in homeland security contracting tend to be large systems integrators such as Integrated Coast Guard Systems, Lockheed Martin Deloitte & Touche, Science Applications International, ITS Corporation, BearingPoint, USIS, Unisys, Systems Integration and SETA Corporation.

“Arlington’s close proximity to government agencies is a key strategic advantage,” said Mayer. “The county has been very successful in attracting a talented labor pool that a budding knowledge-based industry like the homeland security market requires. Arlington should continue to aggressively promote its status to attract new firms, as well as to retain and expand the current firms located there.”

A copy of the complete study is available at

Virginia Tech has fostered a growing partnership with the greater metropolitan Washington D.C. community since 1969. Today, the university’s presence in the National Capital Region includes graduate programs and research centers in Alexandria, Falls Church, Leesburg, Manassas, and Middleburg. In addition to supporting the university’s teaching and research mission, Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region has established collaborations with local and federal agencies, businesses, and other institutions of higher education.

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