In fiscal year 2017, defense spending totaled more than $626 billion—an enormous sum of money that influences the U.S. economy in innumerable ways. However, the effects of that spending, while cumulatively significant are not distributed across the nation equally. Some states have sizable workforces heavily dependent on this spending, while others house various tiers of research and development for producing military weapons, and still others have only a modest DOD presence in their economies. To help states and communities understand defense personnel and contract spending in their localities, the DOD Office of Economic Adjustment has developed the “Defense Spending by State” report, which combines DOD personnel data with publicly available contracting information. This analysis helps state and local leaders to better respond to the department’s mission, while also helping to enhance the resiliency of local economies.
On March 19, Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research for Foreign Policy at Brookings, hosted a discussion on the latest report with Patrick O’Brien, director of the DOD Office of Economic Adjustment, and Molly Reynolds, senior fellow in the Governance Studies program at Brookings. Questions from the audience followed their conversation.
PanelistMichael E. O’Hanlon Director of Research - Foreign Policy, Director - Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Philip H. Knight Chair in Defense and Strategy