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Defense Spending by State - Fiscal Year 2018

This report documents the results of a state-by-state analysis of Department of Defense personnel and contractual spending during Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. State and local officials may use this information to assess a region’s dependence on defense spending and to target assistance to support more resilient communities and companies.

The supplemental report is an analysis of DoD contract and personnel spending in American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States.


Unlike the reports covering Fiscal Years 2013 through 2015, no "manual adjustments" have been made to reallocate Defense contract spending across states based on information outside of USASpending.gov. Rather, reports since FY 2016 rely exclusively on the prime and subaward information available in USASpending.gov.

OLDCC'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 later 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 (GDEB) are reported primarily in the State of Connecticut. While contracted work may occur at multiple locations across a company, only one place of performance is recorded per contract or subaward in USASpending.gov. Prime contractors do not report on how they internally distribute contracted workload, or revenue across their locations. The FY 2015 report used additional information from GDEB to reflect its operations in Rhode Island. Although the company does not appear in Rhode Island’s list of Top Defense Contractors, and the amount spent by the company in the state is not reflected in the Total Contract Spending for Rhode Island as it had in the FY 2015 report, submarine production continues at the company’s Quonset Point facility. Readers are encouraged to contact state and local organizations for more details on Defense supply chain information that is not captured in USASpending.gov.

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, county-level data were extrapolated from information DMDC shared at the 3-digit zip code level. 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 it very difficult to compare the report’s statistics to other DoD reports. For the FY 2017 report, we returned to showing personnel counts as of the last month of the fiscal year and cumulative gross payroll. We apologize for any confusion.

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

FY18 Methodology Change: The FY 2018 report contains one significant change from prior Defense Spending by State reports. The FY 2013 through FY 2017 reports reflected the length of each prime contract in USAspending.gov. Such adjustments were not made for the figures in the FY 2018 report due to data quality concerns (e.g., some contracts appear to have activity long after the end of the period of performance). The analysis continues, however, to adjust prime obligations to reflect the year and place of performance of sub-awards.

In order to provide context for this report, the analysts applied this simplified methodology to the FY 2017 data. A workbook with the FY 2017 and FY 2018 findings is available to download.

Appendix 2 of the full report contains additional details on the research methodology.