Military Background in Maryland

Map of Maryland's military installations Fort DetrickNSA BethesdaNSWC CarderockJoint Base AndrewsNSF Indian HeadARL Blossom PointNAS Patuxent River Aberdeen Proving Ground Fort George G. Meade U.S. Coast Guard Yard Adelphi Lab Center NSA Annapolis NRL Chesapeake Bay Detachment  

Click on an installation above to learn more.​

Featured Maryland Military Installations

The 2019 Maryland Statewide Joint Land Use Study Response Implementation Strategy (SJRIS)​​ identified and focused on 13 major military installations that were determined based on:
  • Geographic size of the facility (large installation versus site or office park/building setting).
  • Standalone facility or annex to another installation.
  • Complexity of mission/installation and to what extent the planning compatibility factors could be applied with useful analysis.


This Maryland Military Installation tab provides background information to help community planners, residents, businesses, and elected officials better understand military operations, the military planning process, and compatibility issues that may impact continued military operations.

Maryland is at the forefront of the nation's military preparedness. Within the state's borders, 20 military installations1 support various military missions, including:

  • The development of naval aviation weapons platforms (e.g., the Joint Strike Fighter) and weapons (e.g., air to air missiles, evasive/defensive systems)
  • Full-spectrum research and development, test and evaluation, analysis, acquisition, and Fleet support for the Navy's ships, ship systems, and associated Navy logistics systems
  • Production of propellants, pyrotechnics, explosives, and high-energy chemicals accounting for 75% of the deployed U.S. weapon explosives
  • Research Development Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) of Army/Marine Corps tracked and wheeled combat vehicles, weapon systems, communications, and other warfighting material
  • Chemical and biological defense RDT&E
  • Military intelligence and cybersecurity
  • Military medicine, medical research, and public health
  • Various types of critical training to service members

Active military installations in Maryland have vital missions and are some of the most well-known and historic in the country. Aberdeen Proving Ground is Maryland's oldest established military installation and the first proving ground in the United States. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is the nation's largest military hospital, and Fort George G. Meade is Maryland's largest employer and the home of the National Security Agency. Naval Air Station Patuxent River is the nation's test and evaluation center for all new Navy/Marine Corps fixed wing aircraft as well as their weapons systems, and Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head manufactures and supplies critical propulsion and energetic materials for many U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)-wide weapons applications. All of these installations provide well-paying employment opportunities and serve as economic drivers locally and throughout the state. In addition to military installations associated with the active forces of the DoD, Maryland hosts 48 installations that are part of the Maryland Air and Army National Guard, and Army and Marine Corps Reserve components. These installations provide Maryland residents with opportunities to earn extra, part time income and serve their country as critical assets.

The Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation compiles information annually on defense spending on a state-by-state basis with the latest published for FY 22. Using this information, state and local officials can assess a region's dependence on defense spending and identify target areas for assistance to support more resilient communities and companies. The State of Maryland's rankings among the 50 states in various economic categories of defense spending for FY 22 is shown below.2 The ranking above each statistic indicates Maryland's placement among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Maryland military spending and personnel statistics Learn how to read th​e chart​.

Military Authorities and Structure

There are many parallels between military installation and local government operations. An installation commander's role is similar to that of a city or county manager. Like local governments, an installation needs basic infrastructure such as utilities and roads, housing, childcare, schools, retail, and industrial uses to support personnel and mission operations. There are also similarities like various departments for operations, including administration, civil works, public affairs staff to communicate with the public and establish partnerships, facilities staff to manage utilities, public works and related areas, and finance staff to oversee budgets.

An installation's community planning liaison officer or public affairs office works with local governments to help identify and address issues related to compatible community development that may impact military operations.

1 In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2801(c)(4) a military installation is defined as a base, camp, post, station, yard, center, or other activity under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of a military department or, in the case of an activity in a foreign country, under the operational control of the Secretary of a military department or the Secretary of Defense.
Defense Spending by State Fiscal Year 2022. U.S. Department of Defense Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation.

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