Defense spending booms in NC
North Carolina businesses received 22 percent more money in contracts from the Department of Defense last year for a total of $3.6 billion. And it wasn't just companies near military bases that got the money. New data shows 93 out of 100 counties in the state got defense money in 2008. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: The Department of Defense contracts with North Carolina companies for everything from making combat boots in Montgomery County to guarding buildings at Fort Bragg. Last year that spending jumped 22 percent compared to an 8 percent increase the previous year. Some of that is a result of the General Assembly opening resource centers in community colleges across the state to help businesses win defense contracts. Scott Dorney runs the North Carolina Military Business Center. He says the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have clearly been profitable for North Carolina businesses. And proposed changes in defense spending may also be good for the state: "As the Department of Defense reorients away from large weapons systems which, unfortunately we don't produce in North Carolina, what they're going to be spending their money on is more and more the things that we do in North Carolina: equipping the soldier, training the soldier, providing quality of life for the soldier and his or her family." Dorney says grants awarded to North Carolina companies range widely from tens of thousands of dollars to millions. In 2008, the Department of Commerce found military operations, including Defense contracts, contributed $23.4 billion to the state's economy.