Manufacturing Mondays Blog Series: Military Appreciation

Posted on by RJ Matetic, MS, PhD; Gary Roth, MS, PhD; Jenny Topmiller, MS; Richard Current, PE; and Adam Smith, PhD

The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays seminar series.

Photo © Getty Images

May is Military Appreciation Month, established by Congress in 1999. There are several important days to remember that encompass Military Appreciation Month like VE Day (Victory in Europe Day, May 8th), Armed Forces Day (the third Saturday in May), and Memorial Day (the last Monday in May). This year, with many service members overseas supporting our NATO allies in Eastern Europe, it is especially important to recognize and honor the United States Armed Forces.

Photo © Getty Images

The aerospace and defense industry is a significant driver of economic development in communities throughout the country. The industry manufactures a variety of products to support the Armed Forces including commercial planes, jet fighters, single-prop private planes, traffic helicopters, software for space shuttle and mission control, radar systems, rocket-guidance systems, missiles, submarines, aircraft carriers, tanks, spy and communications satellites, weapon systems, munitions, dedicated electronics, and countless small parts, components, and subsystems. The industry is comprised of large companies that make complete turn-key weapon systems and many smaller suppliers that make everything from airplane cabinetry and high-tech materials to specialized machine tools for cutting silent submarine propellers. Workers in these industries can face many of the hazards often seen in other manufacturing occupations.

Photo © Getty Images

The companies that support the military are major employers and tax generators. Nearly 2 million aerospace and defense industry jobs represent 1.4% of all employment in the U.S. The industry accounted for 1.8% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 18.8% of all non-food manufacturing revenue generated. Aerospace and defense exports account for 6.3% of all U.S. exports and help maintain key trade and strategic partnerships with other countries.

Photo © Getty Images

Another sector of manufacturing makes personal protective equipment (PPE) for military members. The global market size for military PPE was approximately $13.5 billion in 2020. There has been an increased emphasis on the safety of our troops which is reflected in higher budgets. Soldiers may be exposed to hazards not common in typical environments, and they rely on a wide array of PPE to protect them from unknown conditions. They may face biological or chemical threats making protection against these essential. In addition to respiratory protection, eye protection, and hearing protection, they train with body armor, knee pads, combat helmets, special gloves, and boots among other items.

Photo © Getty Images

During the month of May, consider learning more about the American military and particularly honor and thank those who have served or are currently serving. Armed Forces Day, on May 21 this year, is the day to recognize current military members while Memorial Day stands as a time to remember those who have died in military service. This month as you pay tribute to a veteran and thank a soldier, also remember the Americans at home who work continuously to keep our brave men and women equipped and protected.


For further information about military appreciation month, see the links below:

What is Military Appreciation Month? · United Service Organizations

2021 Facts & Figures: U.S. Aerospace & Defense Industry

Advanced manufacturing in aerospace

Personal Protective Equipment


RJ Matetic, MS, PhD, NIOSH Associate Director for Manufacturing

Gary Roth, MS, PhD, NIOSH Manufacturing Sector Program Co-Coordinator

Jenny Topmiller, MS, NIOSH Manufacturing Sector Program Co-Coordinator

Richard Current, PE, NIOSH Manufacturing Sector Program Assistant Coordinator

Adam Smith, PhD, NIOSH Manufacturing Sector Program Assistant Coordinator


The blog content comes from the NIOSH Manufacturing Mondays seminar series. The Manufacturing Program uses Mondays to highlight happenings within the program and throughout the world of Manufacturing. Some weeks feature seminars by internal or external speakers while others will share recent news and interesting facts related to the Manufacturing community. Many of these topics will also be highlighted here on the NIOSH Science Blog. To share your ideas for future topics contact us at


Posted on by RJ Matetic, MS, PhD; Gary Roth, MS, PhD; Jenny Topmiller, MS; Richard Current, PE; and Adam Smith, PhD

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Page last reviewed: January 31, 2023
Page last updated: January 31, 2023