North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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Dorney and others say, major defense contractors are based in industrial states, and they've gobbled up smaller players. "There's a lot of consolidation in the defense industries, with large systems integrators like Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp." Lockheed is based in Bethesda, Md., and General Dynamics has its headquarters in Fairfax, Va. "We don't make aircraft carriers or attack submarines, and that's where the big money is. We make a lot of components, though." For example, North Carolina has more than 100 suppliers for Lockheed's F-35 Joint Strike fi ghter. Paradoxically, Dorney and Nicholson say North Carolina might be better positioned than defense-contract heavy states to weather the inevitable: The day when the services begin to cut back. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos recently approved a plan that would cut corps strength from about 202,000 worldwide to about 180,000, probably around 2015 when U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and elsewhere scales back. Because of their strategic importance, Lejeune, Fort Bragg and Seymour Johnson likely will be spared the worst cuts. "As Department of Defense spending trends down, and we all expect it will eventually, what's going to be cut fi rst are the large weapons systems," Dorney says. "We believe they'll put more money into main- taining current systems, making them more lethal." The goal is to use the savings to invest in things such as body armor and uniforms and to improve the quality of life for military families. Those are the things done by the state's more than 9,000 companies that hold military and other government contracts. Additionally, increased mainte- nance of existing weapons systems logically would be done by contractors near bases where the equipment is used. That could be good news for North Carolina, Dorney says. "We think we're going to stay strong, and we may actually benefi t from any drawdown that comes." North Carolina EDG When you have a vision for business that demands more space, water, incentives and accessibility, look to Rockingham County, NC. And let the Rockingham County Partnership help. ($/''$*(-$IF:B • E:Efik_JkXi%Zfd

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