Aurora Chamber of Commerce

Defense Sector Produces $36.6 Billion Economic Impact in Colorado

Report Finds Colorado’s Defense Sector Produces $36.6 Billion Economic Impact

Below is the August 16 news release. If you would like to see the full report, you can access the abridged report or unabridged report.

A recently completed statewide economic study shows that Department of Defense (DoD) and corresponding activities produce a $36.6 billion economic impact on Colorado’s economy.  These results are much higher and farther reaching than initially understood and represent over seven percent of the state’s total economy in terms of employment, earnings, and state tax revenues.

The data shows that the state’s defense sector is a significant economic driver along the front range, and most importantly, in smaller counties across the state.  Local employment, incomes, sales and tax revenues are all enhanced by DoD activities, especially when factoring income from military retiree and veteran pensions and compensation.

“Colorado is a community that truly supports our military. The data contained in this report is impressive in scope and highlights the win-win nature of our role as a major center for national defense,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

2015 Findings 2017 Findings
Direct DoD $$ Into Colorado-$12.4 Billion Direct DoD $$ Into Colorado-$18.1 Billion
170,000 Total Jobs 247,000 Total Jobs
$11.7 Billion Total Earnings $16.4 Billion Total Earnings
5.5% of Total Colorado State Tax Revenue 7.3% of Total Colorado State Tax Revenue
$18 Billion in Gross State Product $25 Billion in Gross State Product
$27 Billion in Total Output $36.6 Billion in Total Output


“We are extremely fortunate to live in a state where the economic benefit from the defense-related sector is so significant.  We also admire and appreciate the men and women who serve and have served, and how much they contribute every day to strengthening and enriching our communities,” said President and CEO of The Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Kevin Hougen.

An example of Colorado’s defense and manufacturing strength can be found in small business owner Alicia Svaldi who owns and operates Faustson Tool, a 20-person woman-owned firm located in Arvada, Colorado.

Faustson Tool takes on the most challenging applications that only a few U.S. companies can handle, using state-of-the-art precision machining to do things no one else in the industry thinks can be done. Faustson’s capability to pioneer new and emerging technologies makes them one of the only companies in the U.S. capable of manufacturing key components for NASA’s Kepler space telescope and for the U.S. F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jet, a fifth-generation combat aircraft that is designed to perform ground attack and air superiority mission.

“The F-35 cannot fly without this small Colorado company making two critical fuselage components,” said Tom Bugnitz, CEO of Manufacturer’s Edge, the official representative of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Network in Colorado.

“Faustson Tool is typical of Colorado aerospace companies – very small, yet highly innovative in serving critical roles in the national defense supply chain,” said Bugnitz.

Colorado is revolutionizing the defense and aerospace industry with more than 400 companies who are leading and supporting groundbreaking missions, a variety of military commands, cutting-edge space exploration programs and renowned research laboratories and universities.

The report, performed by Summit Economics LLC., and commissioned by the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and Military Affairs Council, Aurora Chamber of Commerce and Defense Council, and PuebloPlex, updates the economic aspects of a 2015 study authorized and funded by the Colorado Legislature and administered by the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  This updated report adds the economic and fiscal impacts of Military Retirees, Veterans, and the Veterans Administration’s (VA) expenditures in Colorado.


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