Defense Spending In Mass. Rockets Upward

By Sarah Birnbaum

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Dec. 7, 2010

BOSTON — Defense spending in Massachusetts has tripled since 2001, bringing 115,000 jobs to the Bay State.

So says new research from the University of Massachusetts’ Donahue Institute, funded by Raytheon Corporation. According to the study, the Department of Defense spent over $15 billion dollars in the Commonwealth last year – six times as much as all other federal contract spending in the Bay State.

A still from the report. (Courtesy)

Massachusetts Secretary of Labor Greg Bialecki says the state’s strength in technology and education is a big draw for the military.

“It’s our cluster of universities – MIT really takes the lead – goes back to a long history of helping to invent radar back in WWII and then a cluster of great technology companies,” Bialecki said.

According to the study, the defense sector generated $26 billion dollars in economic activity and 115,000 local jobs, making defense one of the leading industries in Massachusetts.

But President Obama’s commission to reduce the deficit is calling for big cuts in military spending to help pay off the nation’s debt.

 Bialecki says those defense cuts could have broad repercussions in this state.

“We have to pay very close attention to how much is going to be spent on purchasing equipment and weaponry.  Everything from Patriot missiles to jet engines are produced here,” Bialecki said.

Universities and scientific research could also suffer.  According to the study, MIT alone received nearly $2 billion in research grants from the Departments of Defense and Homeland security .

The Defense Industry in Massachusetts

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