In his January 1961 farewell address to the nation, President Dwight Eisenhower acknowledged that “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.” At the time of the speech, the Cold War was in its second decade, and Europe had only just recovered from the devastation of the Second World War. Now, over half a century later, the geopolitical context has changed considerably, but the relevance of the former president’s observation has not.
The U.S. spent $877 billion on defense in fiscal 2022, more than the combined defense budgets of the next 10 countries with the highest military spending, including China, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Defense contractors, as well as military and civilian defense personnel, are spread across the country, and every year, money from the federal government flows into each of the 50 states.
The Department of Defense spent $3.7 billion in Kansas in 2021, the 22nd lowest amount among states. About 41.8% of Pentagon spending in the state went to contractors, and 58.2% went to payroll for federal Defense Department employees and military personnel.
Annual defense spending in Kansas is equal to about 1.9% of the state’s GDP and about $1,263 for every state resident.
All data in this story is from the report Defense Spending By State Fiscal Year 2021, published by the Department of Defense. States are ranked by total Defense Department spending on contracts and personnel payroll in fiscal 2021.
RankState2021 Defense Dept. spending in stateDOD spending as a share of state GDP (%)DOD spending per capita1Virginia62.7($B)10.2$7,2592California57.4($B)1.6$1,4633Texas47.3($B)2.2$1,6014New York30.9($B)1.6$1,5575Florida30.1($B)2.3$1,3846Maryland26.3($B)5.8$4,2587Massachusetts21.3($B)3.2$3,0578Connecticut19.3($B)6.2$5,3479Washington19.1($B)2.7$2,47010Pennsylvania16.5($B)1.9$1,27211Alabama15.7($B)6.1$3,12312Georgia14.9($B)2.1$1,37813Arizona14.6($B)3.4$2,01314Kentucky13.8($B)5.7$3,06815Colorado12.4($B)2.8$2,13816Missouri12.2($B)3.3$1,97917North Carolina11.7($B)1.7$1,11318Ohio9.9($B)1.3$84419Illinois9.5($B)1.0$74920New Jersey9.3($B)1.3$1,00221Hawaii7.9($B)8.3$5,46522Indiana7.2($B)1.6$1,05923Michigan6.5($B)1.1$64924Oklahoma6.3($B)2.9$1,58225Utah6.3($B)2.7$1,87726South Carolina6.1($B)2.2$1,17927Mississippi5.6($B)4.3$1,91128Wisconsin5.1($B)1.3$85729Kansas3.7($B)1.9$1,26330Alaska3.6($B)6.2$4,91631Louisiana3.6($B)1.3$76832New Mexico3.3($B)2.9$1,54733Tennessee3.2($B)0.7$46234Maine3.2($B)4.1$2,34835Nevada3.1($B)1.5$97436Iowa2.6($B)1.1$80537New Hampshire2.3($B)2.3$1,67138Minnesota2.2($B)0.5$38739Arkansas1.9($B)1.3$63940Rhode Island1.7($B)2.4$1,53341Nebraska1.7($B)1.1$84442Oregon1.4($B)0.5$32443Delaware950.4($M)1.1$94744North Dakota902.5($M)1.4$1,16545West Virginia885.2($M)1.0$49646Idaho676.4($M)0.7$35647Montana647.3($M)1.0$58648South Dakota643.3($M)1.0$71849Vermont545.7($M)1.4$84550Wyoming475.9($M)1.1$822