The war on terror has added to the biggest defense contracting boom since the end of the Cold War

Thirty-three other states and the District of Columbia have all seen bigger gains in defense contracting since President Bush took office, though Colorado is still strong on military space programs and other high-tech fields, Department of Defense data shows.

It comes down to hardware.

After Bush’s arrival, the Pentagon began pouring new defense dollars into modernizing weapons and building other military equipment. Then came two wars.

The Pentagon’s Directorate for Information Operations and Reports compiles state-by-state data based on the primary location where defense contractors perform work.

To the contrary, some contractors are expanding Colorado operations to serve the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the newly created Northern Command (NORTHCOM), both in Colorado Springs, or civilian aerospace projects.

Nationally, DoD prime contract awards went from $110 billion in 1994 to $203 billion in 2004. A majority of the increase - about $68 billion mostly for weapons modernization and the war effort - came after 2001.

Defense spending slumped nationwide after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the United States ended its expensive military stand-off with the former Soviet Union.

There was reduced demand for intercontinental ballistic missiles, like those once made by Martin Marietta Corp. at its Waterton Canyon plant in Jefferson County.

High-tech services for missile defense and military satellite projects received higher funding after President Bush took office in 2001, but not nearly as much as other parts of the budget.

The biggest prize came in late 2001, when Lockheed Martin was awarded an estimated $200 billion, long-term contract to build a new Joint Strike Fighter. Much of the work will be done in Texas, although high-tech design work could be done in Colorado.

The Joint Strike Fighter partly explains why Bush’s home state more than doubled its total of DoD prime contract awards, from $9.5 billion in 2001 to $21 billion in 2004.

Smaller states with heavy manufacturing also have seen their defense dollars grow significantly because of ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For example, Indiana gained more than $1 billion in Army contracts in 2004 because it is where military Humvees are manufactured.