Make your home page

New defense spending study highlights states’ reliance on funding, resiliency opportunities

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Defense spending is a huge chunk of the U.S. budget.

Among U.S. states, there are winners and losers when it comes to defense spending. A newly released study shows the Defense Department spent billions in states like California, Texas, Virginia and the Carolinas, which boosted business and the local economy.  

But states like West Virginia ranked near the bottom of the list and didn’t receive the same financial benefits. 

From building military supplies to housing service-members, the report shows how defense dollars are spent in local communities. Patrick O’Brien, from the Defense Department”s Office of Economic Adjustment, said for some families military jobs can be as reliable as a family business.

“Grandpa worked at a base or a plant, dad worked at a base or a plant, and you hope your kids can work at that base,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien said the annual report shows that in 2017, the Pentagon pumped more than $407 billion into local communities by supporting military bases and the defense industry. 

California topped the list at $49 billon, followed by Virginia at $46 billion in defense spending. The Defense Department report shows much of the spending went toward military contracts and payroll.

O’Brien said location was a key factor. 

“If you have a boatyard or a shipyard, submarine facility or a different type of manufacturing facility. Those facilities are experiencing growth right now,” he said. 

O’Brien said states receiving a smaller amount of defense money include Oregon and West Virginia. He said local officials can benefit from the report by using the data to increase workforce training and business development.

Molly Reynolds with the Brookings Institute said federal lawmakers are also key players in the defense spending game. 

“Members of Congress who represent areas that are very reliant on defense spending do tend to care more about the defense budget,” she said.

Defense officials said lawmakers can strengthen both the military and local economies by investing in cybersecurity and other aspects of defense.

Here’s a state by state breakdown of defense spending in 2017: