Buckeye State ranks 11th in defense personnel spending

·3 min read

Oct. 28—In a state-by-state analysis of Department of Defense personnel and contractual spending in fiscal year 2020, Ohio ranks 11th in spending on personnel and 15th on contracts, according to the department's Office of Local Defense Cooperation.

The report puts overall defense spending in Ohio at $11.6 billion in fiscal 2020, or 1.7% of the state's gross domestic product, amounting to 2% of total U.S. defense spending.

Defense contract spending in Ohio is put at $8.2 billion, which gives the state its ranking at No. 15 among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

However, spending of $3.4 billion on DOD personnel gives the state a ranking of 11th in that category, the report said.

"Ohio is absolutely rock solid in its share of aerospace and defense contracts, both in major efforts and small business work," said retired Air Force colonel Joe Zeis, a senior advisor to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. "In many ways, Ohio leads the nation in technology, research and development, and procurement contracts. This includes the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Air Force Research Laboratory contracts, in addition to Defense Logistics Agency land and maritime contracts issued out of Columbus."

Among the military service branches, the Air Force accounted for just under half of the state's defense contract spending, the report indicated.

And no surprise: The county with the edge in spending on defense personnel was Greene County, home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one of the nation's biggest Air Force bases. Spending on personnel in Greene County was put at $1.9 billion.

Greene County also did well in contract spending, at $1.8 billion, but found itself ranked second to Hamilton County, where General Electric Aviation is headquartered. Hamilton County saw $2.7 billion in defense contract spending, according to the report.

"Wright-Patt is the crown jewel in our region and state, and the Dayton Development Coalition remains committed to retaining and growing our missions," said Jeff Hoagland, the coalition's president and chief executive. "As the intellectual capital of the Air Force, Wright-Patt creates job opportunities, supports a robust network of contractors, and provides a steady, reliable economic foundation for the Dayton region."

Montgomery County was ranked third among Ohio counties for contractual spending, at just under $905 million.

In Ohio, the biggest defense contractor was General Electric, which saw $2 billion of defense spending in fiscal 2020, according to the report.

CFM International, based in Butler County's West Chester Twp., saw just over $303 million in defense spending, while L3Harris Technologies in Mason and Riverside Research in Beavercreek saw $212 million and $176 million, respectively. The University of Dayton won a share of just over $161 million, while Messer Construction won $145 million in spending.

State and local officials can look to the report to "assess a region's dependence on defense spending and to target assistance to support more resilient communities and companies," the office said.

The states where the Air Force received the largest funding amounts were Texas and California. In Texas, $13.53 billion was directed to contracts and $3.33 billion to personnel. In California, $12.32 billion was spent on contracts, $2.55 billion on personnel.

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Thomas Gnau

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Thomas Gnau is a business reporter who joined the Dayton Daily News in 2007. He has reported for daily newspapers in Ohio since 1991.

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