Economics Expert: More defense spending means more money for Hampton Roads

News 3 Investigates Defense Spending
Posted at 1:01 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 17:13:07-05

Hampton Roads, Va. - Russian’s invasion of the Ukraine could ultimately have a direct impact defense spending that has a trickle-down impact on Hampton Roads, according to a top economics leader in our region.

Many of the businesses throughout the region are directly impacted by the military and the amount of money the Department of Defense spends here.

Russian’s invasion of the Ukraine continues to cause death and destruction and the images are haunting and unsettling.

According to ODU Professor and Economics Expert Bob McNab, we are waiting for Congress to pass an Appropriations Bill right now which he and others think will see an increase the amount of money for the Nation’s Defense Strategy.

“The conflict in the Ukraine is going to increase the discussion of national security policy in the United States, which typically leads to higher defense budgets, which leads to more spending here, which is good for the regional economy,” said McNab.

Senator Mark Warner previously put out information this summer stating that Naval Station Norfolk serves as a chief economic engine, with the Navy exceeding $15.4 billion in spending throughout the region. He said this spending accounts for 15 percent of the regional economy, which means that 15 cents of every dollar spent in Hampton Roads is spent by the Navy.

“It seems like everybody has a story about connections to the military in Norfolk and Hampton Roads in general,” said Sean Kopack, the Kobros Coffee Co-Owner.

Kopack, a veteran and his twin brother who is also active military both own the coffee shop on 419 West 21st Street in Norfolk.

Kopack served 6.5 years in the Air Force and worked as the head mechanic flight mechanic on the aircraft.

“I would troubleshoot in the air and on the ground, do anything from changing a light bulb to changing an entire $30 million jet engine,” said Kopack.

He said he saw many different cultures and countries during his time in the military.

“Coffee is the great catalyst that brings everyone together in an affordable luxury,” he said.

“I really fell in love with the Hampton Roads area and the strong military community that’s here and there’s a lot of transient individuals and it brings a very unique culture to this area,” said Kopack.

He says the majority of his customers are military or have some kind of connection to the military.

McNab said businesses around the region will likely feel the trickle-down impacts of more defense spending.

“We also should expect over the coming years, that we would see increased orders for ships and training of personnel with both of which are produced here in Hampton roads, which would fuel economic growth,” said McNab.

The Defense Strategy was due to be finished in February. Republicans and Democrats have had a hard time coming to an agreement. They have continued to make temporary spending extensions since October 1st. Right now it's unclear when Congress will pass a defense appropriations bill.

McNab said until that is passed, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies are working under a continuing resolution, which limits spending to last years budget plus prohibits new program starts and the reallocation of spending from lapsed programs to new efforts.