NGA, Department of Defense Launch Initiative to Unlock Economic Potential of Defense Assets

Governors, States Examine their Role in Supporting Defense Mission

To help governors and states work more closely with the defense sector to promote military resiliency and better realize more economic value from defense assets, the National Governors Association (NGA) is launching a two-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense.

The NGA Center for Best Practices will work with the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to help states develop and execute strategic, evidence-based action plans for promoting a resilient national defense industry, economic vitality and increased resiliency within the defense industrial base. Through seven reports and topical and regional workshops in 2020 and 2021, NGA and OEA will provide policy analysis and guidance on how state and territorial leaders can enhance their role in national defense while realizing the economic benefits of a vibrant, resilient defense sector.

According to a supplemental report by OEA to the “Defense Spending by State, Fiscal Year 2018,” Department of Defense contract obligations and payroll spending in all 50 states and the District of Columbia totaled $500 billion, averaging $1,528 per U.S. resident. In American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, contract obligations and payroll spending totaled $2.9 billion, averaging $257 per resident.

During their collaboration, NGA and OEA will explore topics such as quality of life for military families, defense workforce development, defense industry resilience, installation resilience, defense spending by state and other issues critical to states’ role in national defense. NGA will highlight promising state initiatives and lessons learned for enhancing the state role in national defense. Through executive orders, legislation and other policy initiatives, states will move toward measurable policy, programmatic and practice outcomes.

“Governors know that states have a vital role to play in the national defense,” said Timothy Blute, director of NGA’s Center for Best Practices. “Through this partnership with the Department of Defense, we’ll work with governors to help them support the national defense mission while realizing sustainable economic benefits for their residents. We are looking forward to working with the Department of Defense over the next two years on this important, exciting project.”

NGA and OEA will host a virtual workshop Sept. 16-18 that will highlight federal and state collaboration on enhancing the experience of military-connected students, military spouses seeking licensure, and veterans reentering the workforce. State structures to support military family readiness also will be covered during the workshop, for which registration is open to state experts from any related fields — economic, education, housing, health, workforce development, and military advisors alike — since this is a whole-of-community effort. Learn more about the two-year project and its inaugural event, here.