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Defense Spending by State - Fiscal Year 2017

This report documents the results of a state-by-state analysis of Department of Defense personnel and contractual spending during FY 2017 in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It highlights factors such as the reliance of regions on military bases and private contractors, which can be used to assess potential exposure to fluctuations in defense spending and to target assistance to create more resilient communities and companies.

UPDATE: This report has been updated to include a full accounting of National Guard and Reserve personnel counts and payroll from the Department of Defense's Defense Manpower Data Center. Accordingly, the total personnel count for the 50 states and the District of Columbia increased from 2.1 million to 2.5 million (19 percent). Payroll increased from $132.7 billion to $135.3 billion (2 percent). This update affects all totals, charts, maps, rankings, and calculations that include personnel counts or payroll.

Readers should take caution if comparing findings from this report to previous OEA Defense Spending by State reports. Unlike the reports covering fiscal years 2013 to 2015, no "manual adjustments" were made to reallocate Defense contract spending across states based on information outside of USASpending.gov. Rather, the analysis is based exclusively on the prime and subaward information available in USASpending.gov. OEA's FY 2015 report included manual adjustments to contract spending in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Differences in contract spending in these states between the FY 2015 and FY 2016 or 2017 reports may be due to this change in methodology, rather than fluctuations in actual DoD spending. For example, in USASpending.gov, DoD prime contracts awarded to General Dynamics Electric Boat are reported primarily in the State of Connecticut. The FY 2015 report used information from the company to reflect its operations in Rhode Island. This data was not available at the time of printing the FY 2017 report, so the company does not appear in Rhode Island’s list of Top Defense Contractors as it had in FY 2015, and the amount spent by the company in the State is not reflected in the Total Contract Spending for Rhode Island. Nevertheless, submarine production continues at the company’s Quonset Point facility.

Regarding personnel data, the report has always depended on DoD's Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) for gross payroll and personnel counts. For the fiscal year 2013 through 2015 reports, DMDC shared this information at the 3-digit zipcode level, and county-level data were extrapolated from it. Personnel counts were shown as of the last month of the fiscal year, and gross payroll was cumulative over the course of the fiscal year. For the FY 2016 report, DMDC was able to share data at the county level. In a change from the prior methodology, the report showed the cumulative number of people who worked in a state or county over a year. While generally higher than a point-in-time snapshot of personnel levels (e.g. as of September 30, 2016), the cumulative totals allowed the reader to see how many people earned the gross pay reported for a state or locality. After the report was released, we found the challenge with using this version of the data is that it's very difficult to compare to other DoD reports, so for the FY17 report, we chose to go back to the previous methodology of showing personnel counts as of the last month of the fiscal year, and cumulative gross payroll. We apologize for any confusion and do not plan on changing this methodology going forward.


OEA’s Tara Butler meets with Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) (left) to discuss the Defense Spending by State report.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) (right) reviews the Defense Spending by State report.

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For inquiries regarding the Defense Spending by State report, use the contact us form link below.