No. 23: Kitsap County, Wash.
- By David Hubler
- Nov 21, 2007
Located on the western shore of Puget Sound, Kitsap County, Wash., measures
only 393 square miles and is the third-smallest of Washington's 38 counties.
But it is the second most densely populated county ? with slightly more than
240,000 residents ? and home to Naval Base Kitsap, the area's major defense
The Kitsap facility was created in 2004 by the merger of Naval Station
Bremerton and Naval Submarine Base Bangor. With installations remaining in
both towns and in Keyport, Wash., Naval Base Kitsap is now the largest naval
facility in the Northwest.
In addition, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is the largest shipyard on the West
Coast. The government presence in the area was large enough to rank the
county No. 23, with 27,497 military and civilian jobs.
The shipyard could grow larger as a result of the 2005 BRAC recommendations,
which call for closing the Naval Shipyard Portsmouth, N.H., and relocating
its ship repair function to Puget Sound.
Those naval facilities and the area's temperate climate make Kitsap popular
with military retirees, said Kathy Cocus, interim executive director at the
Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. "That means [contractors] have
potential access to a lot of retired military ? mostly Navy, but other branches
The retirees know how DOD and the military services work, she said, and
many of them have security clearances they would bring to a contractor seeking
to hire locally.
The top DOD contractors in Kitsap are BAE Systems Inc. with about 400
employees, Lockheed Martin Corp. with 375, and Northrop Grumman Corp.
with slightly more than 300 employees, according to KEDA.
Cocus said Puget Sound federal contractors are neither as visible nor as
active in the life of the community as they are in the Washington, D.C., area.
"It varies," she said, based on their size and the contracts they're working on.
The county has about 15,000 federal government employees, she said.