WASHINGTON — The defense industry is stepping up its lobbying efforts in Washington in an attempt to get Congress to increase defense spending, according to a report published Wednesday.

The top 50-plus defense contractors spent $58.5 million combined on lobbying in 2015’s second quarter, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity produced in conjunction with Time. This represented a 28 percent increase from the $45.7 million the 53 contractors spent during the same quarter in 2014.

As the report notes, many of the companies also have commercial interests, so not all of the lobbying efforts were on defense spending. However, most of the firms — 40 out of 53 — listed the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that serves as a blueprint for US defense spending, as an issue they lobbied on. Some also listed budget controls.

The report highlighted the lobbying efforts of the 10 defense firms that employed the most lobbyists. General Dynamics, which spent $2.7 million during the second quarter of 2015, fielded 74 lobbyists, 70 of whom lobbied on defense issues, according to mandatory congressional filings. Lockheed Martin, which ranked No. 1 in Defense News’ Top 100 ranking of global defense contractors, spent $3.5 million on 64 lobbyists, 56 of whom lobbied on defense issues.

Other firms spotlighted in the report included Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Boeing, Raytheon, United Technologies, Huntington Ingalls Industries, GE, Honeywell and L-3.

In June, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said he believes Congress will strike a budget deal that will avoid the implementation of sequestration-level spending caps.

Email: aclevenger@defensenews.com

Twitter: @andclev

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