Going on offense over Defense spending: Biden touts benefits to states

When the Senate approved $95 billion in military and other aid for
Ukraine and Israel earlier this month, President Joe Biden singled out
Arizona as one of the states that would benefit from the increased
defense spending.

It’s not clear whether Ukrainian aid is entirely the cause, but
there’s no question that defense spending has been good to the state.
The Pentagon spent $15 billion in Arizona in fiscal 2022, the last year for which data is available, up from $14.6 billion the year before.

That boosted Arizona back into the top 10 among states, from 13th place in fiscal 2021.

And the amount spent in fiscal 2022 may be more than what the Pentagon reported: A study
done last fall for the governor’s office said that total military
spending in the state in fiscal 2022 was $15.5 billion on an industry
that supported 78,780 jobs directly or indirectly.

Made with Flourish

Robert Medler, president of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance, said the report for the state, the so-called Maguire Report, shows the defense industry’s economic strength, saying it has a “sizable chunk of an impact on the Arizona economy.”

In its annual Defense Spending by State
report for fiscal 2022, the Pentagon said more than half of the
spending in Arizona – $8.2 billion – went to Raytheon. Northrop Grumman
and Honeywell came in a distant second and third with $855 million and
$642 million in Pentagon business, respectively, that year.

That domestic spending was highlighted by Biden, as he urged House leaders to take up the aid package.

“While this bill sends military equipment to Ukraine, it spends the
money right here in the United States of America in places like Arizona,
where the Patriot missiles are built; and Alabama, where the Javelin
missiles are built; and Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas, where artillery
shells are made,” Biden said.

The bill
would provide $60 billion to support Ukraine, $14.1 billion in security
provisions to Israel, $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid, and $4.8
billion to support Taiwan. It passed 70-29 – both Arizona senators voted for it – on Feb. 13.

That vote capped months of negotiating with Senate Republicans, who
had insisted that immigration reform be tied to the aid package – before
they stripped it out at the last minute and approved the aid package on
its own.

The House has yet to consider the measure, and it’s not clear if
House leaders will let it come up for a vote in its present form when
they return this week from a two-week recess.

Alan Maguire, president of The Maguire Company, said spending from the federal government is vital for the Arizona economy.

“Virtually all the money that drives the military industry in Arizona
is money that comes out of the Department of Defense,” said Maguire,
who wrote the comprehensive Military Economic Impact Report for the
governor’s office.

Maguire agrees with Medler that the role the defense industry plays in Arizona’s economy will only increase as time goes by.

“What I heard in the year and a half that I worked on this study
talking to the commanders and their staff at the various bases is
they’re all expecting additional missions,” Maguire said of his report,
which is done every six years.

“When the different branches look at places to put an additional
mission, the Arizona facilities look very good,” he said. “You’re in a
friendly state, you’ve got the Goldwater Range (the Barry M. Goldwater
Air Force Range), and you have access to a huge metropolitan area when a
lot of the bases in the country are in relatively rural areas.”

Medler said the defense industry should serve as a point of pride for
Arizonans – for more than just the economic benefit it brings to the
state.

“National security is important, everyone agrees with that, and to be
able to have those industries in Arizona and provide the best
technology in the world for our warfighters and our national security is
something I think Arizonans are proud of,” Medler said. “Obviously, the
economic benefit is great, too.”