State’s defense industry expected to continue to grow

August 6, 2018

Connecticut companies received 27.1 billion. That same year, Electric Boat was awarded a 716 billion defense bill for fiscal year 2018 that significantly increases military spending. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure.

Connecticut ranked seventh in defense spending in the country in 2017, an increase from eighth the previous year. That includes money spent on purchases and military and civilian contractor pay. Ross said the data favors states with large military installations since it accounts for pay.

When excluding pay, Connecticut ranked fourth behind “defense behemoth states” California, Virginia and Texas, according to the report.

The “big three” defense contractors in Connecticut _ EB, Pratt & Whitney, and Sikorsky _ account for the vast majority of the federal defense spending received by the state. But the report indicates smaller subcontractors and suppliers are also being impacted.

Connecticut has 900 submarine suppliers, the most of any other state, according to data from EB, one of only two companies that build U.S. submarines, included in the report. These suppliers have received more than 5 billion in per capita defense spending projections for 2018 from the Pentagon. That includes pay and defense purchases.

But when excluding pay, and only accounting for defense purchases, Connecticut ranks second at 5 billion.

The Pentagon for six straight years has requested another round of base realignments and closings, a process known as BRAC. The state’s Office of Military Affairs was set up in 2017 to defend the Naval Submarine Base against BRAC, after it was slated for closure in 2005.

Defense experts predict that it’s likely there will be a BRAC round in 2021, the year after the next presidential election. A big factor will be the quality of public schools around military installations, Ross said, an issue Connecticut is well-suited to address given a long-standing committee of military officials and school administrators in southeastern Connecticut that meets monthly to work on schooling issues for military children. Ross has said the base is in a much better position today than it was when it faced closure in 2005.

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