General Dynamics Land Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics Combat Systems group – a global leader in the design, development, production, support and enhancement of tracked and wheeled military vehicles for the United States and its allies.
At the heart of Land Systems’ military-vehicle platforms is the Abrams main battle tank and the family of Stryker and LAV wheeled combat vehicles. These key ground-force assets remain critical to the military’s structure and offer continuing opportunities for modernization and enhancements to meet the Warfighter’s evolving requirements. General Dynamics Land Systems – Force Protection gives our clients even more strength and innovation on their side with the MRAP family of vehicles and the Ocelot. Land Systems continues to work with its clients to ensure these vehicles remain survivable, relevant, flexible, affordable and capable of addressing a dynamic threat environment.
While GDLS is located in several locations around the globe, one of the key facilities is here in Sterling Heights Michigan, situated in close proximity to the Detroit Arsenal and Army TACOM, TARDEC and the Army Contracting Command. This location allows communications and relationships between the company and the client which would otherwise be very difficult.
Sonya Sepahban, senior vice president for Engineering Development and Technology, a leader at General Dynamics and a key member of Michigan’s defense community is quick to tout Michigan and the relationships prime contractors can build here.
“If you are a Michigan company—great.” Ms. Sepahban told a packed audience at the October 13 Michigan Defense Industry Reception. “But, if you are not currently a Michigan company—you should run to Michigan!” The reception was hosted by the Michigan Defense Center, Macomb County, Butzel Long and the Detroit Regional Chamber and held in Washington D.C. in conjunction with the annual AUSA Conference and Meeting.
Citing the tight-knit and inter-dependent defense community in southeast Michigan, the proximity to great federal assets like the Arsenal and the support from the State, County and stakeholders, Sonya made the case for relocation or growth for defense contractors, tier one and two companies in Michigan.
“Defense is in Michigan’s DNA and we are very positive about future growth of the defense industry in Michigan. We have all the right ingredients, including key customers and facilities (like TACOM), key OEMs (like General Dynamics Land Systems), very capable suppliers in our value chain, as well as many world-class universities, and generations of talented workers that have already transformed Michigan into an Arsenal of Innovation and will continue to fuel the defense industry’s future growth.”
According to Vice President Sepahban, what we need to do to continue to grow the defense industry is:
a) Continue to bring together key players from the various industry sectors and communities to discuss, exchange ideas, and raise visibility of our defense industry in the state, and discuss opportunities for growth.
b) Collaborate by bringing all our ideas, talents and resources from technology, manufacturing, academia and the government together to solve the biggest national security and defense challenges. We are doing that at General Dynamics Land with the Maneuver Collaboration Center (mc2).
According to GDLS, the Maneuver Collaboration Center (mc2) is a differentiating resource for Michigan companies because it allows suppliers to have the opportunity to work with Land Systems on innovative solutions that can be quickly developed, tested, and fielded on GD platforms. Mc2 has thousands of members (5700) and over 15% of those (866) are from Michigan. These members have contributed thousands of innovative solutions (3870), and 25% of all those good ideas come from MI companies (943). “We bring the best of the industry to the Warfighter,” said Rock Marcone, director of the mc2. “We are constantly looking for that unique and potentially disruptive technology that sparks innovation at any level of industry or academia, it’s what we bring to the Warfighter.” General Dynamics Land Systems is currently looking to form partnerships with innovative companies to develop next generation platforms for power and energy, cyber, survivability and lethality.
(To explore how to participate in the virtual community, log on to mc2 at www.gdls.com/mc2)
Corporate-wide, General Dynamics spends an estimated $500 million a year in Michigan. At General Dynamics Land Systems, up to 70% of GD annual sales go to their supply chain in purchases of raw stock and finished goods and services. An investment of hundreds of millions of dollars a year across over 500 companies in MI, and over 70% of those companies are small businesses. Over the last five years, Land Systems has steadily increased its work with women-owned businesses (by almost 40%), and with Veteran-owned businesses (by about 30%).
But, what sets the defense industry apart from other important industries is easy to define according to Ms. Sepahban, “Every day we ask ourselves at General Dynamics Land Systems how we can best serve and protect the men and women of the U.S. military and our allies who sacrifice much to serve and protect us. There is nothing like getting a letter from a parent who thanks you for the vehicle that saved their son or daughter’s life.”
The Michigan Defense Center salutes General Dynamic’s commitment to our brave men and women in uniform and their investment in Michigan and our companies.