RI has fastest rate of growth in defense contracts

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — While federal government spending on national defense has been on the decline, Rhode Island has bucked the trend and nearly doubled its defense contracts over the past four fiscal years, a local defense contractors’ group said Wednesday.

The Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) said Rhode Island has seen the fastest rate of growth in defense contract awards since the 2007 fiscal year.

In a new government report, “Defense Spending by State FY14,” prepared by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment, $2.8 billion dollars were spent on defense in Rhode Island, making for half a percent of total U.S. defense spending. 12,328 people are employed in the state as defense personnel. 68% of the Rhode Island defense contracts are for supplies and equipment — and 92% of them are in the Navy or Marines.

A SENEDIA analysis of the findings showed contract awards in Rhode Island have grown 225 percent since FY (fiscal year) 2007, from $0.4 billion to $1.3 billion. The Ocean State was only one of eight states seeing growth in the value of defense contract awards performed since FY 2012, and the only state to experience continuous growth in defense spending during that period.

“This report is yet further evidence of the local defense industry’s fundamental strength as a growth engine for the Rhode Island and Southeastern New England economies,” said Molly Magee, SENEDIA’s executive director.

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