North Carolina is the frontline of the future for the defense industry. With a top-notch tech innovation ecosystem, exceptional government, academic and industry partnerships, and a commitment to technology and innovation, eastern North Carolina thrives in defense.

Our region is home to four active military bases, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River in Onslow County; Marine Corps Air Force Base Cherry Point in Craven County; and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Wayne County. These four bases have more than 56,000 active duty personnel. With several other military bases across North Carolina, more than 18,000 military members transition to the commercial workforce every year statewide. North Carolina is committed to supporting our military members and their families now and in the future.

  • Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune: 38,778 Active Duty
  • Marine Corps Air Station New River: 6,301 Active Duty
  • Marine Corps Air Force Base Cherry Point: 7,215 Active Duty
  • Seymour Johnson Air Force Base: 4,600 Active Duty

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and its surrounding community is home to an active duty, dependent, retiree, and civilian employee population of approximately 170,000 people. The base generates almost $3 billion in commerce each year, coming from payrolls and contracts to support the structure required to train and equip our modern Marines. More than 53,000 people make up the total Cherry Point-related population with another 16,000 in New River, including active duty and retired Marines, the civilian workforce, and their families.

The Marine Corps remains a significant business enterprise and employer throughout the region by employing thousands of personnel across a wide range of sectors and funding dozens of military construction projects and defense contracts.

In Wayne County, the 4th Fighter Wing is the host unit at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and accomplishes its training and operational missions with F-15E Strike Eagles. Along with more than 5,000 active duty service members and reservists, the base is home to 6,000 family members and 1,000 civilians.

Academic and Industry Partnerships

East Carolina University has an entire department dedicated to defense and industry research. The Office National Security and Industry Initiatives serves as a conduit through which researchers can connect with ECU’s external stakeholders and align their interest with those of regional business and military partners.

Innovative Industry Sectors

Food & Beverage
Machinery & Metals
Wood & Paper Products
Chemicals & Plastics

industry leaders

Military Bases

U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Marine Corps Air Station New River
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base