Report: New England Businesses and Institutions Shared $34 Billion in National Defense and Homeland Security Contracts in 2011
Monday, June 25, 2012
By Ted LaBorde, The Republican
In this 2009 Republican file photo, F-15 Eagle Pilots walk to base operations after performing a flyover during a rededication ceremony at the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base's F100 memorial, honoring fallen members of the 104th Fighter Wing.
National defense and homeland security contracts pump nearly $34 billion into New England’s economy annually with more than $13.9 billion of that in Massachusetts.
The amounts represent an increase 83 percent since 2003 and are responsible for 319,000 jobs at more than 5,000 firms and institutions across New England. In Massachusetts, defense and security contracts support 130,000 jobs at about 2,500 businesses and institutions.
The New England defense contracts and jobs report, prepared by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and commissioned by the Defense Technology Initiative, was released late Monday following a briefing of New England Congressional leaders hosted by Senators John F. Kerry, D-Mass. and Scott P. Brown, R-Mass.
DTI was created in 2003 by the Massachusetts High Technology Council to protect the Baystate’s military units and bases through the 2005 federal Base Realignment and Closure process.
Monday’s congressional briefing in Washington D.C. comes on the eve of Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray’s planned release of the first statewide report indicating economic benefits of Massachusetts’ six military bases.
It also comes on the heels of a commitment last week by the Air Force secretary Michael B. Donley that the core mission of electronics and cyber warfare assigned to Hanscom Air Force Base, north of Boston, will not change despite potential changes in national defense and base realignments during the next several years. That commitment was made to Massachusetts Congressional delegation that has been working on behalf of the state to prevent military cutbacks here.
Murray last February created a state Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force with membership from various state department, business and education communities to work in defense of Baystate military units and installations along with the state’s Congressional delegation. Strategy of the task force will be to identify both strengths and weaknesses of Massachusetts military and defense installations and protect them from federal cutbacks.
Congressional and state efforts are in response to the Defense Department’s plan to cut $500 billion in spending over the next 10 years.
The Air Force announced in March plans to cut 153 civilian and 180 military positions in Massachusetts as early as Oct. 1. Installations here are Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Otis Air National Guard Base, Hanscom Air Force Base, Cape Cod Air Force Station and Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield.
Congressional leaders have since included provisions in their respective Fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act to delay and Air Fore and other military reorganization plans.
The House Armed Services Committee in May took steps to prevent the Air Force and Army from changing aircraft assignments during 2013.
The Air Force has targeted 48 military and 13 civilian employees for reduction from the current 1,024 military and 1,837 civilians at Hanscom.
At Westover, the Air Force announced the transfer of eight of 16 C-5 jumbo jet transports to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas by 2016. Also, four Air Force Reserve and 13 civilian positions at Westover are targeted for elimination in the Fiscal 2013 federal budget.
At Barnes Air National Guard Base, two full-time military and one civilian post are listed for elimination.
Air National Guard Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, current acting adjutant general for the Massachusetts National Guard, has said the Air Force plans to cut 135 of the 895 part-time guard members assigned at Otis Air National Guard base beginning Oct. 1.
He said cuts at Otis represent the majority of Defense Department changes, specifically the Air Operations Group there.
In all, the Air Force manpower cuts for 2013 involve 3,900 active duty, 5,100 Air National Guard and 900 Air Force Reserve.
Following Monday’s New England Congressional briefing on the Donahue/DTI report, Kerry said “This report’s a reminder of the unique role of Massachusetts in our defense strategy, buoyed by our innovation-based economy and world-class research and engineering institutions. It is vital we continue to gather the best information and ideas from New England’s defense community so our delegation in Washington can keep making the smartest case for a strong defense industry at home.”
Brown offered “Its widely recognized that defense research, development and manufacturing plays a key role in providing jobs in Massachusetts and New England economies. We must work together to find responsible, bipartisan solutions that meet current and future threats, keep our nation secure and ensure warfighters are equipped.”
The DTI/Donahue listed Connecticut economic impact from federal defense contracts at $12.7 billion with more than 1,100 firms receiving contracts to support more than 101,000 jobs statewide.
Maine was listed at $5 billion for 2011 through 370 firms and institutions with a combined 53,000 employees.
New Hampshire took in $1.3 billion in 2011 through 560 businesses and institutions with 17,000 jobs.
Rhode Island was listed at receiving $472 million in Department of Defense and Homeland Secutiry contracts. That was down 37 percent from 2003 but an increase of $19 million over 2010. Rhode Island federal contracts went to 389 employers responsible for 12,000 jobs.
Vermont received more than $625 million in federal defense contracts in 2011, contributing to 5,000 jobs at 215 employers.