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These US States Receive the Most in National Defense Spending

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California, Virginia and Texas get the most defense dollars while Wyoming receives the least among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Pentagon report released Tuesday.

Virginia’s 8.9 percent share also tops the list of states for defense spending as a share of state gross domestic product, followed by Hawaii at 7.3 percent and Connecticut at 5.6 percent. Oregon is at the bottom, at 0.5 percent, according to the report by the Defense Department Office of Economic Adjustment.

Overall in fiscal 2017, DoD spent $407 billion in contracts and payrolls across the states and in D.C., or about $1,466 for every American, the report said. Total spending amounted to 2.3 percent of the nation’s GDP.

Of the $406 billion total, $271.7 billion, or 67 percent, was spent on contracts for products and services, and $135.3 billion, or 33 percent, went for the salaries of DoD personnel, the report stated.

Total defense spending by state ranged from $49 billion in California, followed by Virginia, at $46.2 billion, and Texas, at $37.7 billion. Wyoming was at the bottom at $393.6 million.

The top three counties nationwide for defense contract spending were Fairfax County, Virginia, with $13.7 billion spent; Tarrant County, Texas, $13 billion; and San Diego County, California, $9.2 billion.

Lockheed Martin Corp. was listed as the top defense contractor for the year, receiving $30.5 billion in defense spending, followed by Boeing ($22 billion), General Dynamics ($13.5 billion), Raytheon ($11.8 billion) and Northrop Grumman ($11.5 billion).

The 130-page Office of Economic Adjustment report titled “Defense Spending By State Fiscal Year 2017” and the accompanying charts and graphs were released at a Brookings Institution forum by OEA Director Patrick O’Brien and can be read in full here.

In his remarks at The Brookings Institution and during a question-and-answer session afterward, O’Brien said data for defense spending by state for fiscal 2018 is being gathered this month, but he did not anticipate major changes in the rankings of the states.

The top five or six states are expected to remain in the same positions in terms of defense spending and percentage of defense spending as a share of state GDP, he said.

O’Brien did not address in depth the current controversy over the Trump administration’s intent to divert money from military construction projects to pay for a border wall and how the transfer might affect the overall defense budget.

“The wall is a challenge for the department,” O’Brien said, adding that the issue is not in his lane as OEA director.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at

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