It became clear as 2014 ended that change was going to be the theme for 2015. Senator Levin has retired and left the Senate Armed Services Chairmanship to the new majority Chairman, Senator McCain, in fact the Michigan delegation is heavy with freshmen in both the house and sentate and new priorities and relationships will be forged.

The Department of Defense is retooling to keep up with the demand of the new battlefield and the new enemy, even as the budget is being cut across the board and sequestration continues to leave projects and future planning in a state of uncertainty.

But, these changes can also lead to opportunities for those willing to lead and to take up the challenge. In this edition of the Arsenal of Innovation Quarterly you will meet two of Michigan’s new leaders, ready to take charge and identify opportunities in this changing market.

General John D. Slocum assumed command of Sefridge Air National Guard Base toward the end of 2014. He shares with us his vision for Selfridge and the importance of this unique base to national and state security interests as well as SE Michigan’s economy.

And, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Michigan Defense Center’s parent organization, also experienced changes at the top late in the year as CEO Mike Finney transitioned to Governor Snyder’s Advisory Team and Steve Arwood took the helm. In this edition you will learn more about Steve Arwood and his vision for Michigan’s official economic development organization, the importance of the defense industry to Michigan’s economy and the new alignment of economic development and talent enhancement in the state.

Protect and Grow; the Michigan Defense Center announces a major effort in 2015 to map and identify Michigan’s defense and homeland security assets and to then develop a strategic state-wide plan to protect what we have and proactively recruit new missions and opportunities. A successful plan and execution will be a boon to Michigan companies, and those businesses who have not yet discovered the advantages of doing business in Michigan. This is a major undertaking and an exciting change in focus toward our state’s defense industry.

You will also have the opportunity to meet Coliant Corporation, a company in Macomb County that started at the Macomb-OU INCubator and has found success in varied markets including garments, motorcycles and SOCOM-defense contracting. Cross-over is where it’s at in this new and changing economy.

And finally, you will learn about some of the new and innovative programs and efforts the Michigan Defense Center is spearheading with our strategic partners at Macomb County.

Change is concerning to some. To others, like those of us actively engaged in seeking new opportunities from an old establishment, change means innovation—and after all, Michigan is the Arsenal of Innovation!

Sean Carlson