Hawaiʻi Defense Economy Launches New Website

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The second largest economic provider in the state. approximately $2 billion is spent on defense contracts in Hawai‘i.

A new project—the Hawai‘i Defense Economy (HDE)—is focused on enhancing understanding of Hawai‘i’s defense industry supply chain and the economic impact of defense contracts and grants awarded in the state.

Screenshot of new website.

HDE has just launched a website that includes data tools that will help provide better analysis and insight into the industry.

The HDE is a project undertaken by the State of Hawai‘i, led by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Office of Community Services (OCS) and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Economic Adjustment.


The information gathered and analyzed by HDE will help the state understand the impact of any changes to defense spending, military operations or personnel numbers in Hawai‘i. It is also a valuable tool for Hawai‘i-based companies to learn more about the DoD’s contracting trends, growth segments and business opportunities.

“The defense industry supports more than 64,000 jobs in Hawai‘i and total spending is an estimated $7.8 billion,” said Gov. David Ige. “The HDE project provides insight into the relationships between the DoD in Hawai‘i and companies contracted to do business performed in the state. It will help us take informed, proactive measures and plan for potential changes in defense requirements in Hawai‘i.”

As one of the only states that is home to all five service branches of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard), the DoD issues millions of dollars in contracts in Hawai‘i every year for various projects. The range in work and products varies from information technology and cybersecurity to construction and food and fresh produce. The HDE website provides detailed information through interactive graphs and charts.


Users can learn more about:

  • Ranking of the top products and services purchased by the DoD since 2008
  • How the money flows from DoD contracting agencies to be spent on products and services
  • Ranking of the largest contracts by dollar value
  • Which products and services the DoD spends the most money on
  • Growth in special set aside categories
  • Trends in key growth areas
  • Ranking of top small business contracts
  • Which companies qualify for special business categories
  • Which organizations and individuals are doing business with the military in Hawai‘i (including a searchable database).

“Prior to this project, we knew that billions of dollars poured into Hawai‘i through defense contracts, however, we did not have a great understanding of who was benefitting,” said David Carey, chairman of the Hawai‘i Military Affairs Council. “The data analysis provided on the HDE website allows us to really see how impactful the defense industry is on our local business community, and hopefully provide opportunities for other businesses to become a contractor or subcontractor with the defense industry.”

The DoD relies upon hundreds of small businesses in Hawai‘i to provide critical products and services to the different branches and commands across the state. In 2016, more than 1,000 small businesses received nearly 2,000 contracts worth more than $1 billion total.


“There could be more opportunities for local companies to partner with the DoD and we hope that they will use this resource to see what areas there are contract opportunities,” added Carey.

The HDE team is currently in the process of developing an action plan for the state. Based on the analysis, which will improve understanding of the economic impact of defense contracts and awards in Hawai‘i, the action plan will include recommendations to help prepare for possible changes in the defense economy and to take advantage of interesting new opportunities.

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